After years of anticipation and speculation, Phoebe Philo has made her triumphant return to fashion with her own label. While her absence from the fashion scene for the past six years has left a void, her influence and legacy continue to resonate, making her return an event of monumental significance. With no shows or advertising, Philo’s absence from the fashion show circuit during the recent season did nothing to diminish her influence. In fact, her name was on everyone's lips, whispered with excitement on every front row.
The fashion industry, known for its critical nature, held Philo in the highest regard. Fashion editors unabashedly fan-girled over her, recognising her unparalleled talent and visionary approach. One of the most revered and bankable designers of her generation. Her tenures at Celine and Chloe, amassed a loyal following, and solidified her reputation as a visionary in fashion. However, at the height of her powers, Philo surprised the industry in 2017 by announcing her departure from Celine (back then Céline). While she offered little explanation beyond prioritising her family, rumours of a potential comeback began circulating soon after. 
In July 2021, Philo announced the launch of her eponymous label, backed by LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton and the appointment of Patrik Silen as managing director. The anticipation for her return reached fever pitch, with expectations of a show or sneak-peek collection mounting. Yet, Philo's enigmatic nature prevailed, and details remained shrouded in secrecy. However, after a seemingly endless wait, her online shop, has finally opened its virtual doors, marking a momentous occasion for Philophiles worldwide.
The excitement surrounding her return is unparalleled, especially during a time when female creative directors are becoming scarce. During her reign as the British queen of Paris Fashion Week, Philo turned Celine into a talismanic brand that represented not just what women wanted to wear, but how they wanted to be seen. Her vision went beyond fleeting trends, elevating fashion to a reflection of lifestyle, mood, and values. Some of her memorable moments include the fur-lined and bejeweled Birkenstocks, the foulard shirts with geometric prints, and the hair-tuck trick, which have become iconic in their own right.
Philo's profound understanding of the female gaze is evident. Yet, what truly sets her apart is her economy of style. Her genius lies in her ability to stamp her concise aesthetic on novel proportions. In this collection, Philo's equation revolves around bold, rounded shoulder lines, trousers, and, of course, high heels. The oversized shoulders, mimic a distinctive arched roundness reminiscent of iconic ‘80s designers such as Giorgio Armani. The A1 collection, as it is officially named, primarily focuses on essentials, sophisticated and empowering garments which offer a clear vision for post-pandemic dressing - confident, elegant and rebellious.
Behind her new label lies not just a complete collection but an entirely new luxury fashion house. Boasting an in-house atelier and meticulous standards on par with the best in Paris (as one would expect). Her signature touch of peculiar allure, erotism, and wit is masterfully woven into effortlessly wearable garments. However, this is not a conventional collection. What we witness today is the first instalment of what the brand refers to as Edits— a series of three online releases labeled A1, to be followed by A2 in the spring and so on.
The first edit of the collection consists of approximately 150 pieces, released in three sections throughout the year.This unique approach, embraces a season-less philosophy, aiming to create products that embody permanence rather than fleeting trends. The limited and unpredictable drops, referred to as ‘edits’, are reminiscent of streetwear brand Supreme, but applied to luxury pieces. This approach aims to create desire and a sense of consumer urgency while allowing for a more sustainable and thoughtful approach to fashion.
Philo's decision to release her collections according to her own schedule, rather than adhering to the standardised fashion calendar, reflects her commitment to sustainability and responsible production. By producing limited quantities that fall short of demand, Philo aims to eliminate overproduction and reduce the environmental impact of the fashion industry.
Exclusively available on her website, with no physical retail locations, retail prices reflect the luxury and craftsmanship synonymous with Philo's name. The collections, released in tranches with no set schedule, will be accompanied by alerts for pre-registered customers, ensuring they have priority access. Whether this will lead to secondary-market exploitation or bot invasions remains to be seen, but the rarity of the collection undoubtedly adds to its allure – less than twenty-four hours after the collection's launch on Philo's webstore, more than half of the offering has already sold out, leaving Philiphiles eager for the next drop.
While this groundbreaking concept is undeniably new, it aligns seamlessly with Philo's long-standing mastery of crafting enduring pieces—a fact well-known to loyal Philophiles who have cherished their 'Old Celine' treasures for nearly a decade. Today is undoubtedly a day of celebration for the vast fashion sisterhood that adore the British designer. Having kept a low profile since departing from Celine in 2017, Philo's return to the fashion scene has been met with overwhelming excitement and anticipation and it is clear that her influence and impact on the industry are far from over.
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