British designer and former Celine creative director Phoebe Philo has announced that after a three-year break, she is back in fashion and is creating a new label backed by LVMH.
The designer, who was feted for her luxe, understated aesthetic at Celine, has released a statement saying that more information on the PHOEBE PHILO label will arrive in January 2022, but for now all that has been revealed is that it will focus on clothing and accessories “rooted in exceptional quality and design”.
“Being in my studio and making once again has been both exciting and incredibly fulfilling,” Philo said. “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.”
While the label is independent, Philo has also announced that LVMH, parent of Celine, is taking a minority stake in the venture.
“I have had a very constructive and creative partnership with LVMH for many years. So it is a natural progression for us to reconnect on this new project. I have greatly enjoyed discussing new ideas with [LVMH chairman and CEO] Bernard Arnault and [LVMH board member] Delphine Arnault and I am delighted to be embarking on this new venture with them,” Philo said.
Bernard Arnault added: “Phoebe Philo is one of the most talented designers of our time. We have known and appreciated her for a long time. Phoebe contributed to the success of the group through her magnificent creations over several years. With this in mind I am very happy to partner with Phoebe on her entrepreneurial venture and wish her great success.”
News of Philo’s return will please her many fans and no doubt garner her new ones. During her 10-year tenure at Celine her modern approach to dressing women, epitomised by her own style of relaxed pants and knits paired, usually in muted palettes, with her signature Adidas Stan Smith sneakers, led to a cult following. When her departure from the house was revealed in 2017, fans queued outside Celine stores globally to snap up the last of her designs.
She was replaced at the house by Hedi Slimane and was said to have left because she wanted to take time out to spend with her young family in London. It is understood her new label will be based out of the UK capital.
Philo is a contemporary of fellow Central Saint Martins graduate Stella McCartney. She accompanied McCartney to Chloé in 1997 working as her design assistant. When McCartney left to establish her own label, Philo became creative director of Chloé, which is owned by Richmont, in 2001. She joined LVMH owned Celine in 2007.
Philo’s name has been linked to every top job in fashion that has emerged since she left Celine, including the top job as Chanel following the passing of Karl Lagerfeld in 2019 (that job however went to Lagerfeld’s right-hand woman Virginie Viard) and, more recently, she had even been mooted as a potential to take over at Burberry, following speculation that Riccardo Tisci may leave when its CEO and his mentor Marco Gobbetti stands down at the end of the year.