Another piece in the jigsaw puzzle of how women will want to dress tomorrow, realised today.
As with many a journalist I am prone to a verbose moment or two, so I will attempt to keep my views on the Celine show as precise, focussed and razor sharp as Phoebe Philo's latest collection. Philo did pea coats - chopped up and buttoned asymmetrically, sometimes collarless. She did shearling - reversed, trimmed in leather, midcalf. She did lace - in white, sliced into a skirt and a pair of blouses, one set against a shiny shiny patent pencil skirt. She did a handful of colours - black, white, navy, a touch of khaki and deep green, a flash of orange or burgundy in accessories. That was pretty much it. Minimum input, maximum output: every garment in this small, perfectly-wrought collection was utterly exquisite, unequivocally right, another piece in the jigsaw puzzle of how women will want to dress tomorrow, realised today.
Carrying on from the low-key but cataclysmically influential tremor she caused last season, for winter Philo upped the Richter scale another notch. The mood this time was, arguably, more truly Celine, referencing the house's bourgeoise roots in silk dresses with fluttering scarf-necklines, and all that elaborate lace. Unlike last season's wiping of the slate, decoration, even ostentation, had begun to creep back into Philo's clothing - guipure, brass-buckled belts, flecks of lurex, a final pair of tunics crusted with three-dimensional sequins. It may seem antithetical to Philo's minimal bent, but crafted into her almost surgically clean silhouettes, this excess was contained, almost neutralised.
On the simpler pieces, as ever, it was the godlike details that made them stand out. Trousers were abbreviated above the ankle bone to show a slither of flesh between boot and hem, cuffs similarly chopped an inch or two above the thumb. There were more plays on the white shirt, this time peeking out from beneath the slashed sides or hems of sleeveless knit tunics. There were leather revers on coats, leather patch-pockets on tunic dresses, leather belts pulling wool shifts against the small of the back, a hint of fetish in a long-sleeved leather tunic worn with a wool skirt. There was absolute economy, absolute focus, the absolute wardrobe.
At the end, the crowds leapt up to rush backstage and congratulate Philo before her clothes had even left the catwalk. As the models mingled with the crowd in the thronging mass, it was difficult to tell fashion model from fashion consumer, so thoroughly has Philo's vision already affected the way fashionable women dress. Does one really need more proof of her influence, and success, than that?