It's the rumour that has been whirring around the industry for months, but today WWD confirmed the news that Phoebe Philo will be exiting Céline. After 10 years at the French fashion house, the British designer has stepped down from her role as creative director and her last collection will be presented at Paris Fashion Week in March, for AW18.
"Working with Céline has been an exceptional experience for me these last 10 years," she wrote in a statement released by WWD. "I am grateful to have worked with an incredibly talented and committed team and I would like to thank everyone along the way who has been part of the collaborations and conversations… it’s been amazing."
LVMH chief executive Bernard Arnault echoed her departing words. "What Phoebe has accomplished over the past ten years represents a key chapter in the history of Céline. We are very grateful to Phoebe for having contributed to the great momentum of this Maison. A new era of development for Céline will now start and I am extremely confident in the future success of this iconic Maison.” What's next for the brand remains unclear, but a source familiar with the matter claims Philo will not work for another label; her successor is to be named in the coming months.
Philo leaves behind a unique and unparalleled legacy. In 1997, she moved to Paris from London (where she attended Central Saint Martins) to join Stella McCartney at Chloé, eventually taking over as creative director in 2001. Just a few years later, she was awarded British Designer of the Year by the British Fashion Council. After taking a two-year leave from the industry to raise her second child, Philo came back, assuming the top role at Céline, in 2008.
Her reclusion from the pomp and circumstance of the industry (and e-commerce, until earlier this year) carried over to her designs, where her taste for minimalist and classic ready-to-wear gained her cult status, with the sales to back it up. The jury's still out on how exactly the fashion house will change under new direction, but whoever takes over has incredibly influential, infinitely chic Stan Smiths to fill.