Céline: Still Amazing, Now Fun

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    If there was one label we thought would carry the banner for minimalism forever, it's Céline. But, designer Phoebe Philo is clearly in myth-busting mode this season. For spring '14, Philo sends us a parade of swinging trumpet hems, swirling primary colors, warped athleticism, netting, and fringe that felt both urban-influenced and crafty.

    Tennis as a reference point was woven into a lot of collections this season. But, while designers from Louise Goldin to rag & bone emphasized crisp, court-ready pleated minis and pert polo tops, Philo's take on the trend is decidedly more louche: Think long-line tank tops and mid-calf pleated skirts with fluid, mermaid hems. And, we hope you really like the Me Decade, because Philo sent more than a few zip-neck polo shirts down the runway, with '70s-tastic elongated collars, in — hold up, is that double-knit polyester?

    Oversized outerwear is a Céline signature, but this season's coats move away from the much-copied cocoon shape. Instead, oversized wraps were the shape du jour in a less neutral-centric palette than seasons past — an electric-blue calf-hair wrap was a standout. Knee-length blazer coats were in evidence, too — belted at the waist to emphasize those Working Girl shoulders, thanks very much. The color palette had a similarly late-'80s feel. Tunic-length tops sported gestural paintbrush strokes in bright yellow, red, and green, and massive geometric cuffs and oversized clutch bags were similarly vivid.

    Past Céline collections may have felt more meditative and cohesive (there's much to be said for the calming effects of yards of gray cashmere), but we love this more manic version of the label we love. Philo's located the intersection where urban sportif meets fancy-lady luxe (and gets doused in primary-colored paints), and has given us a collection that's more exuberant, fresh, and plain-old fun than we've seen from Céline in seasons. This is the look of Philo dancing ahead of her hordes of imitators, just out of reach and smiling all the way.

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