In a world where every celebrity from Hollywood to Harlow is whipping up endless brands as add-ons to their marketing oeuvre, thank God, frankly, for Phoebe Philo. There she quietly popped back into fashion land with a timely reminder of what style actually looks like. No over-the-top, feckless celebrity-packed front row. No camera-baiting theatrics; no obsequious interviews with gushing tales of mood boards; not a single Instagram post to her massing 370k followers to a comically empty page.
At a time when brands feel bizarrely obliged to bleat into the void about core values, posting sanctimonious and mawkish shallow ‘opinion’, wasn’t it bliss to have a blackout from the onslaught of pretentious reflection? When typical fashion houses are falling over themselves to dress and book Instagram’s most insufferable filler-full offerings, isn’t it divine to have a campaign of real-looking women, of all ages, faces worn beautifully with age, scant of make-up, looking slightly imperious in their new Philo-armour.
And Philo knew exactly what her fervent acolytes needed; she treated them to refreshed options of her perfectly tailored trousers, luxuriantly simple tote bags, fuzzy Big Bird trousers and knitwear perfection. Most of this initial drop was snapped up by the end of her first day of business. A triumph, some might say, of launching a new label in a dodgy luxury landscape.
Much has been made lately of the lack ofsarah b/comment/sarah-burton-alexander-mcqueen-paris-fashion-week-b1110794.htmlr fashion field, with recent appointments to key houses being of the same white, male variety that dominates the industry. So surely Philo’s return — a woman who has always driven her career on her own terms, leaving her post at Chloé to be with her child; stepping back from Celine when she’d had her run of it; now launching a start-up age 50 — would be celebrated.
But no, here come the inevitably sniping internet lols about her ‘Mum’ necklace, attitudes to which underscored the eye-rolling nature with which women, and mothers, are viewed in the fashion industry. Silly, and irrelevant. Oh, but the prices! Screamed a million freaks into TikTok of the luxury label, which presented handbags for £6,500, coats for £3,000, and that necklace for £3,200. Newsflash: rich people buy expensive things. Cozzie living appropriate these were not, but neither are any of the pieces from any other luxury house. Have they seen Burberry’s £2,990 knitted duck hat? Quack off.
But, Philo’s prices only matter to the tight circle of women with the potential funds to afford them; her ideas matter to the rest of us because inevitably these will filter through and Philo-lite versions will be trotted out to a high street near you soon.
At which point, we should be grateful to her for pushing the fashion conversation forward in her inimitable style, no daft gimmicks, no deluge of tat, just a keen eye on creating clothes made by a woman for women. Male gaze begone! And maybe, just maybe, that idea of feminine-serve might be more broadly adopted. Then, we all win.