Phoebe Philo is well and truly anointed as queen of cool for the work she has done at Celine. Innovative silhouettes, high restraint, opting for less rather than more, though never ‘simple’, luxury fabrics, surprising twists, healthy doses of irony in the clothes…cool, cool, cool.
But before there was Celine, quite few years back, there was Chloe. It is quite a mark of her design prowess to be able to master aesthetics at such different points on the spectrum as Celine and Chloe represent. At its height and throughout many seasons, Chloe was the epitome of the feminine romantic. And the whole world was in love with what Phoebe sent down the runway. Especially this jacket…
Yes, this is indeed a young Gemma Ward. (This is a scan from an old Vogue magazine, quality is not brilliant, sorry).
Phoebe Philo started her design career as an assistant to Stella McCartney, and when Stella was appointed to the Chloe house, Philo followed. She took over when McCartney left to start her own label. The fashion world was quite unprepared for the explosion of style at Chloe that emerged in her outing as head of house.
If you want inspiration for the perfect white top with the most whimsical but funky details, just look back over the Chloe archive. There was always some detail that anchored these clothes on the right side of the line…romantic, and perfect for the fashion aesthetic at the time, but not too ‘frou’.
My favourite blouse at the time was this following one and I copied this slavishly (see how many pictures I ripped from the magazines!). The best detail? The last 7cm or so of the front button band hangs loose and flaps around. Such a perfectly conceived detail. I will pull out my old pattern and make another one of these now I think!
So much was covetable, and in fact still is. I still see some of these Chloe tops in my future. And the Chloe jackets, well they are achingly cool. In turning over all my fabrics for this blog, I have come across my pattern in progress for the Chloe jacket worn by Gemma Ward above, which I have now resolved to finish. And then I’ll consider some more.
It is no wonder that Anna Wintour rang Phoebe Philo year after year once she left Chloe, entreating her to new ventures in the fashion design world. And Celine was her answer. I’ll be fascinated at her next phase.