Phoebe Philo has exited the rock festival and left its subtle influence on her Spring show in the rearview mirror. The designer's preferred mode of transportation: a luxury automobile. "Cars, the essential-ness of what it's like when you get inside a beautifully made car, and the power" is how she described the route she took to the new collection. Well, no matter how she got here, she's bound to rev city girls' motors this Fall, with a lineup that was long on statement coats, and offered a new idea about streamlined urban uniform dressing, too.
To begin, the outerwear. Philo's first clever idea came on the first look out. The charcoal-black chesterfield had an interior strap that fastened below the bust to produce that swaggering, open-coat look we all love so much. A couple of bold color-blocked furs followed, and, in a style that we've seen on the street and also in the front row, the designer layered fitted jackets (hers came in puckered vinyl) over longer coats (here, shown in fur).
As for the new Celine uniform, it's as simple as a snug white turtleneck and trousers that taper to a zipped ankle above pointy-toe loafers. In keeping with the driving metaphor, a lot of the pants were inset with leather—at the waistband or down the sides as tuxedo stripes. The turtleneck might be worn under a sporty chevroned sweatshirt or with a clean, unfettered blazer in that substantial wool felt. Yes, the wood-grain prints would've been better left on the sports car dashboard, but the car wash-pleated skirts had a fun zip to them. Philo's evening options were as reduced as ever, just a pair of strapless black bustiers that flared out over full-leg trousers.
You can't call it fashion with a capital F; it's too classic and too subtle for that. Still, it's a testament to how utterly Philo has nailed the essence of what modern, style-obsessed women want right now that the Celine boutique here in Paris has been picked over and is practically empty. When today's collection lands in the store, they should expect a repeat.