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Philo pushes style over sex in new collection

By Liana Satenstein, Staff Writer

For Celine F/W 2010, designer Phoebe Philo adhered to the book of minimalism – there were no ostentatious colors, no signs of decadent embroidery — and frankly, there was little hint of the flirtation and girlishness that had been synonymous with Philo when she had designed for Chloe. The Celine Fall/Winter collection has been Philo's second collection since she had left Chloe in 2006.    

Many of the outfits, such as the white-collar button up shirt with the beige above-the-knee skirt, were loosely tailored with little room for anything sexual; a couple of the skirts had high slits; a couple of shoulders were seen. If there was any hint of sex — it was sewn into the seams of a plain, leather long sleeve blouse or a sleeveless leather top. The sexual pinnacle of the show was when model Debora Muller wore a chiffon turtleneck that coldly exposed her chest — hardly erotic and hardly passionate.

Yet, with good intentions, feminine appeal was not the focus of the show. Philo centered her collection on a new beginning—the introduction of dark, earthy, natural colors and cleanly structured jackets with masculine tailoring. The pantsuits and clean white button down hovered along the aesthetic fringes of a hardworking Amish farm boy while the long skirts and black nylons echoed the modesty of a Hassidic schoolgirl.

There were long, shapeless winter jackets that reached the knees as well as a chunky geometric, leather trench that refrained from any emphasis of curves. At one point, Philo transitioned from the "engulfing, black shapeless look" to showcase a simple long sleeve and empire skirt set made of lace, accented by a pair of black, leather equestrian style boots. Towards the end of the collection, Philo utilized the androgynous, blank feel of the 90's. Model Natasha Poly wore a look white, long sleeve button down with oversized pockets paired with a long leather skirt and boots. Normally, the white shirt that was fastened extremely low would have romanticized her décolletage but instead emphasized Poly's chest bones that once again alluded to Philo's sexless and bare theme.
Since Philo left Chloe and took a four-year hiatus from designing, her new devout partnership with Celine seems refreshing. Her canonical talent was evident in this collection, drawing appreciation to the appeal of minimalism without the boredom. Although Philo's second collection for Celine is a far cry from her very revered affair with girlish frills and buoyantly seamed skirts at Chloe, her bare and emotionless yet sophisticated collection at Celine is symbolic of a fresh slate for Philo.  

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