On Saturday I went down to the South Bank, to the Queen Elizabeth Hall for the third year of the Vogue Festival, sponsored this year by Harrods. The hands down hot ticket of the day, even at £40, was Céline’s Phoebe Philo, in conversation with Alexandra Shulman.
Philo is known for rarely speaking to the press, so this was an extraordinary opportunity to hear her speak. I live Tweeted the talk, and here is a digest of those Tweets.
PP: ‘I wanted Céline to be a house again not a brand. With an intellectual structure’.
PP: ‘I hope that a lot of Céline is investment pieces that you can wear time and time again.’
Philo says that at Chloe her job was to design to the house aesthetic & eventually that was why she left, so she could express herself.
On the rampant copying of Céline on the High Street: ‘If we weren’t copied at Céline I think I’d find it quite alarming.’
Alex Shulman to Phoebe Philo: ‘I get the feeling that you are pained by compromise’
PP: ‘I’ve an innate fear of fame. I’ve not thought that being famous looked like a good place to be. I value my freedom.’
PP: ‘I saw the Rick Owens show (where he put a size diverse team of step dancers on the runway) and thought there’s another way to do a show. ‘
PP hedges, but basically admits she doesn’t buy fashion magazines
PP: ‘I don’t read blogs.’
PP: ‘There is a bit of a political statement behind Céline. We should be teaching girls to get out there & feel good.’
PP: ‘It would be unrealistic to think that human beings would not worship beauty. They have since time immemorial.’
PP: ‘I see too many women dressing for other people, and disempowering themselves in the process.’
PP: ‘I’m not a big fan of women being sexualised through their clothes. I have no problem with what women wear so long as they choose it themselves.’
PP: ‘As soon as I had children I started putting some very clear boundaries about when I worked. I also have a great team.’
PP explains that she and her design team for Céline are based in London, and she visits Paris only about twice a season. The atelier and a huge part of the company are in Paris, and the atelier bring their work to London to show her.
PP: ‘I have complete creative freedom and control, and that is why I am at Céline. If I don’t want bags on the runway there won’t be any.’
PP explains that she likes customers to experience the world in which the clothes exist, the complete experience of the stores, hence no online sales.
Many thanks to Vogue for the ticket