This Paris Fashion Week, when many a fashionista waited with bated breath for the Céline SS14 show—and the subsequent inexpensive replicas that would surely follow—something weird happened. Céline was all…not Céline. Unlike the solid pastels and contemporary cuts of seasons past Phoebe Philo restructured her beloved city-chic look this season, presenting a collection of unflinching graffiti and patterns on confusing voluminous silhouettes. Manifesting facial expressions astonishingly congruent to the drawn-on, raised eyebrow looks of her doodle-clad models. Straight up, is Céline playing tiddlywinks with our hearts?
Maybe Philo wants to create inimitable pieces you’d be hard pressed to find in your nearest H&M.
It’s not that Ms. Philo didn’t present us with an impeccably dressed Céline woman. Beautifully crafted knitted jacquards and large structured T-shirts over gathered pleats were a fresh and pleasing sight to see. It’s just that the bold primary colors and overbearing graphics were not the Céline so many have come to know and love. Such a stark contrast from her muted modish past the disparity has got us thinking; the transformation has got to be a calculated effort to change our perception of what it means to wear Céline.
Perhaps Ms. Philo was sick of the carbon copies being mass produced by main street stores such as Zara. It is a fact; once Céline produced a collection, thousands went to work ripping it off- and it worked. Just because hardly anyone could afford Céine’s black leather accordion skirt from the Pre-Fall ’13 collection didn’t stop anyone from finding an exact replica at their nearest mall. Possibly Philo is now sick of it all. Maybe she wants to create inimitable pieces you’d be hard pressed to find in your nearest H&M.
By the looks of it, the past seasons of Céline’s elegant softness is gone for good.
Or it could be just the opposite. Philo may be so conscious of Céline’s power of persuasion she is verifying to herself how far she can exert the label’s following. After all, the collection was about “Power to women” and wouldn’t it be clever of Philo to dedicate her collection to the same theory she is experimenting with? Philo could have spelled it out for us when she said, “It was inspired by lots and lots of feelings. It felt like the right time to move on. I never really analyze; it is just what is there inside.”
Regardless of the reasons behind the drastic modification, by the looks of it, the past seasons of Céline’s elegant softness is gone for good, this display was loud and boisterous. We’re all going to have to get used to the new Céline woman, in all her late-eighties inspired glory. What it all comes down to is this- Is it the look, or the brand that people are so eager to replicate? We many never know.