The beyond-imminent birth of Phoebe Philo's third child influenced her presentation today—no big deal, an intimate delivery for a handful of guests. But it had no influence—so she insisted—on the clothes she showed. "Maybe, if I can't lose the weight, there'll be empire lines next season," Philo said.
In the meantime, every seat had her usual grab bag of images, which may—or may not, she claimed—have been lurking in her subconscious while she was thinking about Fall. Images of brutalist architecture, for instance (paging Rick Owens). As a West London girl, Philo would be all too familiar with the long shadow of brutalist masterpiece Trellick Tower. That particular tower block was a stalwart of punk iconography, but so were zippers. Which happened to be a defining detail in this collection, opening up knees, running down calves, curving round torsos. They gave a literal edge to the clothes. There was even a hint of Trellick blockiness in the top that matched diagonal bands of black, white, and fluoro pink fur. The abstract track-pant stripes were, of course, quintessential Portobello Road, but, in London's Olympic year, they also had the sporty raciness of national pride.
All of which pointed to a punky zest in Philo's Celine. When that same pink fur showed up as the last gasp of a collection of drop-shoulder jumbo-size overcoats, it was pause for thought. All the coats had big half-belts in leather. "Martingales," said Philo. "I love the sound of that word." She called them a "punctuation," but they gave the coats a big old party-time swag. That too felt like a memory of a moment when sharp girls threw vintage overcoats over cropped pants and tees—the moment, in fact, when people were listening to Portishead's "Glory Box," offered here in multiple versions as a soundtrack.
The coats were the collection's headliner—there was wickedness in the one that spun to reveal a furry tail of red—but the women who look to Celine for a wardrobe update might find news in the ever-so-casually draped tops, which were actually artfully structured. There was silhouette action here. But no empire lines…yet.