Phoebe Philo, the woman responsible for the resurgence of fashion Birkenstocks, these handbags, and the aesthetic behind basically everything Zara has sold in the past five years or so, is stepping down from her role as creative director at Céline after ten extremely influential years.
The news was confirmed by the Business of Fashion, after they reported in October that multiple designers were being interviewed to take her place. In a statement, Philo was gracious, saying “Working with Céline has been an exceptional experience for me these last 10 years. I am grateful to have worked with an incredibly talented and committed team and I would like to thank everyone along the way who has been a part of the collaborations and conversations… it’s been amazing.”
The label’s influence, driven heavily by Philo’s own pared-down, minimalistic aesthetic, is evident in every street style blogger’s Instagram; it’s the reason why Stan Smiths re-entered the sartorial lexicon with such force a few years back. Céline is clothing for a Glossier model or for an octogenarian Joan Didion—Philo’s Céline embraced comfort, quiet chic, and elevated basics that were just special enough to be covetable. She set the bar for a “certain tribe of fashionable women,” Bethan Holt writes at the Telegraph, and is largely responsible for the reason your roommate from college, say, tucks her long, center-parted hair into the neck of a turtleneck sweater—not a happy accident, but a style affectation plucked from Philo’s playbook.
It’s hard to pinpoint a precise trajectory of her infuence because it is now so widespread. Consider Céline’s Phantom bag, a shape that is so familiar to most that seeing the original is like seeing a particularly skilled knockoff. This bag in various iterations, could, at a certain point in time, be found at ASOS, H&M, Zara, Topshop or the fast fashion pureyor of your choice. Not to cerulean-speech Philo’s work or this $3,100 handbag, but I’m just saying! Her influence is legendary! We crave boxy tee-shirts and clamor for Birkenstocks because she made it so! Pour one out for a fucking legend.