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She's back: Phoebe Philo to launch own label with LVMH

By Don-Alvin Adegeest

12 Jul 2021

Fashion |

Image: Andrew H. Walker / Getty Images North America / AFP

Phoebe Philo is launching her own brand with LMVH as a minority stakeholder, industry sources have confirmed. Despite a three-year hiatus after exiting Celine, Philo has made a lasting imprint on the industry, leaving a legacy that revolutionised women’s clothing to be wearable and practical above being objectified. Her painstaking eye for detail and aestheticism won her a legion of global customers and influenced countless of brands and copycat collections.

A return was imminent

There were rumours of Philo succeeding Karl Lagerfeld at Chanel and even to take the helm at Alaïa, yet is has long been known that Philo prefers to work from her base in London, having previously moved the Celine offices to be closer to home. At a surprise appearance at the ANDAM awards on July 1st, there was hopeful chatter she would be returning in some capacity.

In a statement first published by the Business of Fashion Philo said “Being in my studio and making once again has been both exciting and incredibly fulfilling. I am very much looking forward to being back in touch with my audience and people everywhere. To be independent, to govern and experiment on my own terms is hugely significant to me. I have had a very constructive and creative working relationship with LVMH for many years. So it is a natural progression for us to reconnect on this new project.”

A woman’s voice for quiet luxury

Women gravitated toward Philo’s understated luxury where at the time she was one of just a few powerful female voices in an era dominated by male creative directors. A quote in Vogue of her 2009 debut Celine collection said: “it felt better for me to work on an idea of a wardrobe than too much trend. I worked hard to create things that stand the test of time.”

The Instagram account @OldCéline was a testament to her popularity, charting Philo’s collections over her 10-year tenure, and quickly amassing over 375,000 followers.

In recent years sportswear has dominated catwalk collections and sneakers have become big revenue makers. When Philo came to Celine in 2008 the world was just emerging out of the banking crisis when a new dawn of quiet luxury turned out to be exactly what customers wanted. Philo’s reading of the zeitgeist may be similarly successful as the industry reawakens after a global pandemic, ready to be ignited by something fresh.

At Celine, Philo notoriously failed to embrace digital fashion and was famously anti-tech. One of the major changes in the past three years is that the luxury landscape has quickly shifted to online. Groups including LVMH have invested heavily in technology and Philo’s return will be expected to have a digital presence. She may, of course, eschew social media, like Bottega Veneta and its creative director Daniel Lee. Lest not forget he too cut his teeth under Philo at Celine.

Neither Philo nor LVMH confirmed the exact launch date, but new details are expected to be made available in early 2022.