CALL us impatient, but show goers often like to preempt what might come down a runway before they see it. In recent seasons from Celine, we’ve had fuzzy invitations, chipboard runways, and colour block seating. Today, it was plain white invitations and a catwalk made up of untreated porous terracotta tiles, and the seating? Glazed ceramic stools. As Anna Dello Russo pointed it, it looked like the sort of thing she might come across at her home in Puglia, southern Italy.
Aside from the sensational coats, there were flickers of summer here in Phoebe Philo’s autumn collection. There was something about the artisan crochet embroideries on the opening look and the humongous shopper bags that looked just the ticket for a day at the beach – or for that matter, on safari, if Philo’s zebra print has anything to do with it (seasons have long become blurred at the international collections, since these clothes are landing in July, and anyway, it’s always summer somewhere in the world).
Often in her repertoire, Philo explored ideas on deconstruction, coming undone; the way a tri-coloured triangle-bra silk slip dress was provocatively split in several places, streams of strapping and ties were left to fly, and sleeves peeled away at the shoulder. She continued many other signatures here, too; such as contrast overstitching, those slinky ribbed knits, which this time had built-in conical bras or cut out backs and huge belled cuffs. She even hit repeat on skate sneakers and that elasticated block-heeled sock-shoe spotted on many of the front row feet this morning.
Loosening up has been in progress at Celine for a few seasons now – being less edited, more open, softer – and although some of those impressive coats with gargantuan fur trims where pulled in tightly at the waist, there was a new freedom to Philo’s woman, and with that came expressions of individuality. The fact that some girls wore heavy daubs of painterly make up and others wore none at all; that some had their hair down, and the rest, tied back into a neat ponytail – didn’t go unnoticed. It brought authenticity and believability to the clothes. Away from the catwalk you can imagine everything hanging in Celine stores the world over. What she built with this collection was a total wardrobe, and yes, one that women will want to call their own come autumn.