Phoebe Philo has a vision. That being one where women aren’t subjected to a certain sense of flesh baring dress, but one where women are allowed to feel both comfortable and powerful at the same time being fully dressed. This form of thought gave shape to a new silhouette that has become somewhat of a designer & high street uniform: Seek any high street shop from Zara, to Topshop or H&M and thou shall find a Céline reference. Oversized chunky knitted sweaters in creamy colours, floor grazing soft touch suit pants in shades of grey and the perfect coats to be well balanced on your shoulders appropriate for all types of weather paired with crisp white trainers. Models gracing campaigns appear makeup-less with lightly wind tousled hair. These are the silhouettes of today. Phoebe Philo has been the talk of town for the past month as she gave a rare interview during the Vogue Festival. Besides the fact that she told the tale of how she got on with Céline and turned it into something we couldn’t do without today, she spoke strongly about wanting to make a political statement with her clothing.
What was most surprising were her thoughts on the high street copycats. She thought it was a sincere form of flattery when they referenced Céline to the extent that it clearly isn’t a copy. Yet there have been a few times that things appeared like twins from afar. Though, to her it didn’t matter, as the real Céline would always stand out with its impeccable quality. But what happens when other designers start embracing elements of this aesthetic and start making it their own. Their norm of quality coming extremely close or alongside that of Céline. When putting one designer beside another, the resemblance is crystal clear. Was that not a thing that would bother a designer in terms of being creatively copied not once but repeatedly, season after season, year after year, since 2009 and counting.
After reconsidering what Phoebe said, there might have been some things said that were misleading to the bigger picture. Could it be that her short mention of wanting to produce clothes with a political character was part of her bigger plan. A plan, where she gifted women with a new aesthetic covering comfort and power all through the system of fashion and it’s way with trends. A new silhouette that would seep its way through to other designers, the high street and eventually a pile of staples of many fashion conscious women. No wonder she sees her copycats with their accompanying behaviour as a form of flattery. Her message of female self-acceptance is clear as it is changing the face of fashion, turning it into something maybe not quite so mediocre after all.