Earlier this year, the fashion world awoke to their iPhones buzzing with news that the wait for Phoebe Philo’s eponymous clothing brand was almost over. On October 30, 2023, it finally launched.
We’re just going to pause for effect here with a triumphant hurrah sure to ring out amongst the Philo fanbase.
After announcing her return to the industry back in July 2021, style savants have been busily stocking up on Celine Luggage bags in anticipation for what Philo’s debut collection under her own name would deliver (hint: understated, sexy, with a mix of classic and daring pieces).
The English designer first announced the news on Instagram, to her 25K followers, known as Philophiles.
“Our inaugural collection will be revealed soon,” the message read. “We will be opening for registration in July 2023 and look forward to being back in touch then.”
In late September, the famed fashion icon sent out an email with a flashing date, October 30, confirming that that was when the collection would drop online.
There’s still no word on whether the digital launch will eventually be accompanied by an in-person fashion show, but if we had a crystal ball, we can only imagine the front row would be lined by prolific members of the style set like Stella McCartney and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley.
The launch comes almost five years after the designer left Céline in 2018, where she single-handedly catapulted the French fashion house to ‘It’ status during her decade-long tenure.
So what does the collection deliver from this revered sartorial mastermind?
Phoebe Philo’s Inaugural Collection, Revealed
Philo’s first collection for the eponymous brand is sleek, textured and largely neutral. Bar a few pops of colour like red and lilac, the palette remains subdued in notes of champagne, brown, darkest black and cream.
The line is an experimentation with materiality, playing with feathers, wool, tassels, embellishment, silk and (of course) a lot of leather. Philo stretches her tailoring hand with a series of enviable coats and blazers, but experiments in other ways.
The shoes have a kind of ‘witchy’ element, that we saw echoed on the runways of Spring/Summer Fashion Week 2023/24, while a hand-knitted midi dress covered in cream scales (termed ‘iridescent stucco’ stands out from the pack.
The hand combed pants and skirts are a triumph, especially given Phoebe Philo’s impact statement, which shares a commitment to reducing waste, creating products that last and the fact that it “[does] not use fur, exotic skins or feathers” and aim to move key fibres such as wool, cotton and viscose to certified sustainable options by 2024.
Naturally, the price point follows suit. Available in the US and UK, a black tote bag will set you back US $8,500 (approx. AUD $13,375), while a white mini skirt costs around US $2,100 (approx. $3,304).
It certainly does exceed prices at other lauded labels like The Row, where a large black tote bag will set you back around AUD $9,000.
Despite this, many items on the website are already sold out, showcasing just how much star power and desirability an eye like Philo’s can bring to a brand.
Given Philo’s ubiquitous status as the woman who redefined minimalism and quiet luxury in the 2000s, we can only imagine the strides this brand will make in the coming years, especially at a time of the indie sleaze and 90s grunge resurgence.
If you’re looking for what we could expect from collections to come, here we round up some of Philo’s most iconic looks over the years.
The Phoebe Philo hair-tuck
Whether it’s because we couldn’t find the time to wash our hair or under the threat of drizzle, we’ve all given the great Philo hair-tuck a good go – even if it didn’t quite deliver the Instagram-worthy results we hoped for.
But it wasn’t merely the turtlenecks which graced the runway which continues to inspire our rainy day hair of choice but the designer herself champions the look with an innate ease the Olsen twins most certainly stole.
The shouldn’t-work-but-it-does furry slider
Forever introducing us to items we didn’t know we needed but now can’t live without, Philo’s models were sure to have been pleased to shuffle down the runway at the spring/summer 2013 show.
The designer whole-heartedly threw herself into the ugly-but-oh-so-chic sandal trend by lining her chunky soles with fur.
Although they divided fashion critics, soon cross-legged Fashion Week attendees were showcasing their Philo ‘furkenstocks’ at show after show after show.
The laundry bag phenomenon
In a move nobody could have predicted (and certainly nobody but Philo could pull off), the humble laundry bag – often found proudly hung high in the market stalls of London – inspired the designer’s autumn/winer 2013/2014 collection.
The unmistakable print was reimagined in the form of structured coats, slouchy clutch bags and roll-up sleeves.
The Phoebe Philo trainer effect
Hands up, who else rushed out to purchase a pair of Stan Smiths all thanks to Philo’s unwavering love affair with the trainer brand?
The designer is responsible for our attempt at sporting athleisure be it desk-side or on the airport dash – giving runway fashion a whole new meaning.
The glove shoe is born
We’ve all stretched a high street ballerina pump over our feet all thanks to the ‘Philo Effect’. At the Céline spring/summer 2015 show, models stomped down the runway in glove shoes paraded in maroon, tan, gold and white.
Before we could even question the creation, it was afoot every name in the industry at season-after-season of Fashion Month.
The giant scarf
Philo was the pioneer of practical fashion. Case in point: the super scarf she sent down the runway for autumn/winter 2017/2018.
No longer was a scarf purely to bundle up from the winter chill because it’s an accessory, people.
Mismatched shoes made cool
Ever left the house with odd shoes on? Next time anyone passes judgement on your accidental Monday snooze, remind them: “It’s Philo, darling!”
Purposefully bold booties and strappy numbers underwent the wrong-shoe treatment with delightful results we could only dream of pulling off.