Here is all the information you need about the British designer Phoebe Philo’s comeback. Just don’t call it a comeback ‘collection’.
The media finally got to see the most-anticipated collection of 2023 last Friday, during one-on-one meetings in a light and airy London showroom where clothes were hung on racks and jewelry and other items were set out on tables.
Phoebe Philo wasn’t there in person, but her unique fashion handwriting was. Phoebe Philo’s collection showed her love for high-end fabrics, perfect tailoring, surprising details like added volume or texture, and feminine shapes with a modernist twist.
Some might call these mostly plain, sometimes religious clothes “quiet luxury.” Only black, white, olive, and oxblood were available in a wide range of colors, and pictures were very rare. But they were much more interesting and not at all quiet. Each piece of clothing had a sneaky, subversive surprise or an edgy detail hidden inside it.
Think about the bondage straps that hug the knees of tailored pants, the zippers that run up the back of each leg of roomy, five-pocket mom jeans, or the arms of sweaters and jackets that are too big and ironed hard to keep their creases.
Fashion fans haven’t been this excited about meaty leather bombers and coats with batwing arms since Claude Montana’s Paris shows in the 1980s.
Some daring and creative cutting and dressmaking smelled like early Martin Margiela.
Based on menswear, Phoebe Philo’s double-breasted suits looked good. The shoulders were hunched forward, and the waists were shaped like an hourglass. Her short, sloppy scarf-like dress was made of heavy, soft fabric and had a built-in bodysuit inside.
There were a few looks that stood out, like four-way stretch leggings with an ombre wave pattern on the outside of the legs and a red ski sweater with big graphics all over it.
Leather tote bags big enough for a microwave were among the show-stoppers. There were also bodysuits, bondage belts, and swimwear studded with shiny metal balls, as well as coats, bias-cut dresses, and satin pants covered in intricate embroidery that looked like threads.
The first items Philo designed under her new personal brand, which she’s been building up for more than three years, included ready-to-wear shoes, handbags, jewelry, and glasses.
One piece that stood out was a heavy necklace made of 23-karat gold that had the word “Mum” written over and over again. This may have been a reference to Philo’s three children or to the collection’s quiet growth.
A stretchy gold cuff and a rectangular ring looked like they were from ancient Egypt. A pair of tile-made earrings that hung down had an Art Deco look to them. Oversized, black, and somewhat square-shaped sunglasses were meant to cover as much as possible.