Paris thrilled with no-frills Philo's latest collection

If anyone can be credited with the return of so-called "real" clothes to the catwalk then it is the British-born designer, Phoebe Philo, currently whipping up a not-so-quiet storm at Céline. For the past year, under Philo's creative directorship, the French luxury label has become eminently desirable.

Philo ushered in the discreetly different putty tones that were ubiquitous last summer. Her coolly minimal, predominantly smart and tailored autumn collection – complete with understated accessories – is now heading up "most-wanted" lists at the fashion glossies. And so it was with some anticipation that the fashion world gathered en masse at the Tennis Club in Paris yesterday to see what this influential designer had to offer for spring/summer 2011.

Despite a more colourful and light-hearted mood elsewhere, Philo is clearly sticking to her guns and a no-frills, highly rigorous aesthetic more tastefully proportioned and elegant than ever dominated. Low-slung trousers in ivory silk were so long their turned-up hems hit the floor. They were worn with moulded leather tanks or oversized white shirts with similarly lengthy cuffs.

Céline denim looked suitably dressed down for weekend wear. A black crepe jumpsuit with a slick racer back and nothing but a gleaming gold zip interrupting its immaculate surface was the ultimate in modern evening attire.

Although at first glance the new Céline look may seem accessible and therein lies at least part of its seductive power, appearances may be deceptive. There are very few women tall, slender or indeed stylish enough to carry off such a specific silhouette. The preternaturally chic Philo is one and that message was driven home neatly when she stepped out to take her bows.

Earlier in the day the Turkish-Cypriot born, Central Saint Martin's educated designer, Hussein Chalayan, showed his collection in an intimate gallery in Le Marais. Chalayan talked individual buyers and press through a short film he had directed as an alternative to a traditional runway show. This featured a single, spotlit model wearing his beautifully constructed, delicately construed designs, all of which explored some of the more surreal aspects of Japanese culture, the designer said.

He was quick to point out, however, that any concept was approached in an abstract as opposed to literal manner. The very precise ritual of kimono-wrapping, for example, was merely hinted at in fragile, broderie anglaise trimmed panels encasing the torso of a shirt or dress. Bonded, floral-print dresses – the skirts of which were manipulated by black-clad, "bunraku" agents – were draped to form the Japanese word "sonzaisuru" (to exist), although only a native of Japan would be able to read it.

For all the complexity of ideas and construction at the heart of this collection, the most remarkable thing about it was lightness – despite a process that is extremely painstaking.

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Fashion

    Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

    £40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

    Guru Careers: Software Developer

    £35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

    £18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

    Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

    £25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

    Day In a Page

    Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

    Sun, sex and an anthropological study

    One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
    From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

    Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

    'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
    'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

    Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

    This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

    Songs from the bell jar

    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
    How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

    One man's day in high heels

    ...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
    The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

    King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

    The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

    End of the Aussie brain drain

    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
    Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

    Can meditation be bad for you?

    Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
    Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

    Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

    Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
    Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

    Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

    Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
    Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

    Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

    Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
    Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

    Join the tequila gold rush

    The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
    12 best statement wallpapers

    12 best statement wallpapers

    Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
    Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

    Paul Scholes column

    Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?