Di­rec­tions from Paris

Phoebe Philo changes tack for the cold weather to come, writes Laura Craik.

The Press - Zest - - Dress - The Times

View­ing the guests at the Ce­line show in Paris dur­ing fash­ion week it was tempt­ing to imag­ine that skate shoes, cropped black trousers and aus­tere shirts were be­ing handed out at the door. That most fe­male guests were wear­ing them demon­strated the power of Phoebe Philo, the Bri­tish de­signer who has re­shaped Ce­line since her ap­point­ment in 2008.

Few de­sign­ers could per­suade women to ditch their beloved skinny jeans for that most ma­ligned of trouser styles, the boot-cut flare. Yet this is the key shape that Philo is putting for­ward for next au­tumn.

Slim-legged trousers that bloomed into a flare abounded, in black, white and a beige marl. Many came in a thick­ribbed knit that clung to the body like a sec­ond skin. Ribbed knitwear was a recurring theme, much of it re­call­ing the early work of Joseph Et­tedgui, the in­flu­en­tial founder of the Joseph re­tail em­pire.

In many ways this was the most commercial collection that Philo has done for some time. At its heart was a se­ries of great coats, some calf-length, nar­row at the waist and with a row of off-cen­tre but­tons. Oth­ers were shorter, dec­o­rated with what looked like tiny feath­ers, un­til closer in­spec­tion re­vealed the strands to be loose threads. There were also some co­coon-shaped coats with draw­string hems.

It was Philo who pro­posed the Vans skate shoe as a trend, as well as the Birken­stock san­dal. Both went on to be­come ubiq­ui­tous in chain stores and high-end de­signer stores.

Next on her list for a re­make is the Dr Marten. Apart from the boots them­selves, the brand’s dis­tinc­tive yel­low stitch­ing was a recurring mo­tif, dec­o­rat­ing the plat­form­soled san­dals that were worn with al­most ev­ery look.

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