Phoebe Philo launches eponymous fashion house in September 2023

    (AFP via Getty Images)

(AFP via Getty Images)

In July 2021, Phoebe Philo released the news the style set had been waiting for: after a four-year hiatus, the superstar designer confirmed she would be returning to fashion, and this time with her own eponymous label.

The British designer became something of a cult figure in the industry after her incredibly successful ten-year tenure with Céline, where she developed a cool, minimalist wardrobe for women looking for easy-to-wear, effortlessly elegant clothes or Old Céline as her archive is reverently known after Hedi Slimane took over and controversially removed the accent to make it Celine.

After leaving the LVMH brand in 2017, rumors of her next move circulated, and she’s been posited for every major creative director job opening in recent years, including that of replacing the late Karl Lagerfeld at Chanel.

In a statement to the Business of Fashion, Philo said her first eponymous brand will “sell apparel and accessories rooted in exceptional quality and design.”

“It was both exciting and incredibly satisfying to be in my studio and recreate it,” says Philo, who lives in London. “I’m really looking forward to being in touch with my audience and people everywhere again.”

And today Philophiles (as her fans are called) around the world can start saving, as a post on Instagram confirms that the long-awaited brand will officially launch in September 2023. .com as of the launch date, does not confirm whether the big reveal will take place on a runway. If so, will Philo stay true to her British roots and opt for London Fashion Week? Or will she choose Paris where she has shown for years with Celine and Chloe?

French luxury group LVMH has taken a minority stake in the new venture, meaning Philo should have free reign in the direction it takes, something that was important to her. “Being independent, governing and experimenting on my own terms is hugely important to me,” she continued. “I have had a very constructive and creative working relationship with LVMH for many years. So it’s a natural progression for us to reconnect with this new project,” added Philo.

    (AFP via Getty Images)

(AFP via Getty Images)

The luxury giant’s backing will, of course, provide Philo’s fledgling brand with much-needed financial stability and resources; both will be important for a new label gaining a foothold in a post-Covid fashion landscape.

For LVMH it is a major coup. Philo’s chic yet understated reinvention of Céline struck a chord in the years following the 2008 financial crash, as there was a shift toward quieter, less flashy luxury. For example, the handbags she designed, such as the Luggage and the Classic, were free of logos or branding and became an overnight hit with fashion editors and anyone who wanted to associate with Philo’s brand of more deliberate, sophisticated consumerism.

These self-proclaimed “Philo-philes” loved the understated, luxurious aesthetic of the clothing, which excels in oversized turtlenecks, silky-smooth tracksuits, baggy shirts and long hemlines paired with Stan Smiths (a shoe that put Philo on the map) or quirky ‘ugly shoes’. shoes (a concept she also pioneered). Philo’s Celine avoided anything overtly sexy and was loved by so many for her determined feminine look. These weren’t clothes that men thought women should wear, they were clothes for women like Philo himself, who have to mess around. And so they flew out of the store.

LVMH does not disclose results for individual brands, but according to market analysts, the designer’s collections increased annual sales from €200 million to more than €700 million by the time she left in 2017.

Whether she can replicate such a stratospheric success story with her own label depends on the famed anti-tech designer being able to communicate effectively with the new digital-first consumer. If she can do that, maybe we’ll finally see a move away from the maximalist, logo-heavy aesthetic of brands like Gucci and Balenciaga, which have gained popularity with an Instagram- and TikTok-obsessed audience.

Can Philo seduce Millennials and Gen Z with their neon heels and logo straps? As LVMH Chairman and CEO Bernard Arnault said, she is “one of the most talented designers of our time.” If anyone can do it, Philo can.

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