The day has finally arrived – after months of feverish anticipation, today marks the opening of the Phoebe Philo online shop. Fashion lovers have been hitting refresh ever since phoebephilo.com launched back in July, but at 3pm this afternoon the revered designer’s new collection landed. The launch has been years in the making, with the fashion world on tenterhooks to see what Philo would do next ever since she stepped down as the creative director of Céline in 2018 – and it has been well worth the wait.
Phoebe Philo has long been hailed as a cult figure in the world of fashion, famed for the chicly minimal aesthetic she built during her ten-year tenure at Céline. The new collection – which has been backed by LVMH – is pure Philo. The pared back palette of blacks, creams and neutrals showcases powerful silhouettes, from strong-shouldered coats and exquisitely tailored trousers to leather jackets and punk-inspired ripped skirts. There are 150 styles in total, which will be released across three ‘edits’ – A1, from now until Christmas, A2, to follow in Spring 2024, and A3, which will be released later in 2024.
The designer’s fashion journey has been well documented. Philo studied at Central St Martins before cutting her teeth at the fashion house Chloé as Stella McCartney’s first assistant for ready-to-wear, based in Paris. After leaving the French fashion house and moving back to London, she joined another in 2008, this time Céline. A decade later she decided to step back from designing to spend time with family. It wasn’t until 2021 that Philo announced she would be setting up her own label and we’ve been counting down the days ever since.
Philophiles – as her devoted fans are known – will find plenty to love here. Highlights from the first drop include a boiled wool trench and a black cashmere coat slit high on the sides (statement-making outerwear has always been a Philo trademark), as well as beautifully cut jackets and trousers. Elsewhere you’ll find oversized striped shirts, knits that have been pre-washed so as not to look new and stretch-satin dresses with built-in bodysuits.
There are plenty of more adventurous pieces, too. The provocative trousers that unzip all the way up the back to the waistband have already become a talking point, as have some of the ‘show pieces’, including a series of voluminous shaggy coats. Picked out in swan-like white and pink, and made from hand-combed viscose, each one takes 300 hours to make. Available with matching trousers, they’re set to be released later this autumn.
Then, there’s the accessories. During her tenure at Céline, Philo became known for launching a number of It bags, most notably the topstitched Luggage tote and functional Trio cross-body. Her own range is likely to go the same way, featuring supersized leather totes and structured quilted bags that are bound to find themselves top of this season’s must-have lists. As for the shoes, you’ll find vampy loafers with sculpted heels, sexy stiletto pumps and fun fringed and tasselled footwear.
Phoebe Philo has been created not just as an eponymous label but as a fully-fledged luxury fashion house, with its own in-house atelier and standards to equal the very best of Paris (which, naturally, Philo knows all about). Each of the drops has been designed to be seasonless, “to create a product which reflects permanence”, in a bid to keep the collections as sustainable as possible. No more than 100 of each style has been produced, to create “a responsible balance between production and demand”, and pieces will only ever be available to purchase on phoebephilo.com.
The only downside to this? Pieces are likely to fly off the (virtual) shelves, with fashion editors expecting the entire collection to sell out almost as soon as it lands. The company has limited purchases to one of each style per customer, in an attempt to prevent them from being resold elsewhere at higher prices. So, if you want to get your hands on a piece of fashion history, you’d better act fast.