Phoebe Philo unveils long-awaited collection under her new label
Phoebe Philo’s own brand has finally launched and the critics have gone into a frenzy of praise, suggesting the former Chloé and Celine designer is just about picking up where she left off when she quit the latter label six years ago.
Backed (as a minority owner) by LVMH, the first collection covers ready-to-wear, footwear and accessories at pure luxury price levels and available for now only on the Phoebe Philo webstore.
In a very Philo colour palette (think off-white, oxblood, black, brown, red) there’s the trademark masculine-feminine mix for which the designer is known. That means tailoring, knitwear, lots of draping, roomy shirts, wide-leg trousers that are flat (and cinched) at the waist, textured dresses, roomy leather bombers (one tasselled all over) and flight jackets with stand-up collars and pulled-in waists, cargo pieces, trenches, and a fairly even mix of body-skimming and oversized cuts.
Prices hit the stratosphere for some pieces, with certain items marked as “price on application” and others with the full eye-watering price tags for all to see — such as a “hand knitted T-shirt dress in iridescent stucco” at £13,000, or XL Cabas bag at £6,200.
But there are plenty of lower prices too (albeit out of reach for most shoppers) such as a “hand-combed embroidered dress” at £2,600, a scarf top at £1,400, a slate grey pinstripe shirt at £800, and sunglasses starting at £340.
It’s all been in development for over two years and launches at a time when both fashion and the luxury sector are facing major challenges.
But the Hermès results this month suggested that the ultra-luxury end of the market continues to prosper and some of the newly-launched ultra-luxury Phoebe Philo pieces have already sold out.
Today’s is the first (and largest) of three drops — or Edits as she calls them — for this season and there will be two seasonal collections, each comprising three Edits, a year.
That said, despite launching during the autumn/winter season and including coats, the 150 individual pieces feel fairly season-neutral. And they’re largely devoid of those unwearable conceptual pieces that usually make it onto the runway — apart maybe from the combed viscose shaggy coats that take the same amount of time to construct as some couture pieces.
Particularly important are the shoes and accessories, of course, as that’s where many women will interact with the brand. As mentioned, the giant-sized totes come at giant-sized prices but simple shoulder bags and the Small Kit Cabas (imagine a shrunken tote) that’s already sold out in one colour, retail at £2,600-£3,200.
Footwear comes as squared-toed heeled pumps, loafers, ankle boots and platform Jodhpur Boots at prices from £850 up to £1,250.
It’s basically not-so-quiet, quiet luxury. Think The Row with more exaggeration, and some Phoebe Philo fairy dust.