After weeks, upon months, upon years of waiting, Phoebe Philo, a beloved woman, central to the womenswear industry, was set to launch her namesake label at the close of this September. Just this weekend gone, the final weekend to fall in the speculated month, Philo took to the media to confirm she would be keeping fans in strained suspense for 4 weeks longer. The launch date is now scheduled for the 30th October, and despite Philo’s erratic rescheduling, she is masterfully maintaining industry interest in both herself and her brand with this clever marketing game of cat and mouse.
A creative director, whose reach has spanned both Celine and Chloe, Philo has made an indelible mark on industry taste, with her liking and profiling of the refined and sleek chic. Marching back into the fashion foreground after a five-year hiatus, Phoebe’s rebound into the news is a loaded and highly anticipated moment. Her break,and her silence, have resulted in this elongated launch being likened to a form of metamorphosis by the Philo clique, and onlookers have a certain excited expectation that this next step in the Philo story won’t be anything less than impressive.
Philo’s progress towards developing her namesake label has been slow and lengthening. With the collection initially announced in 2021, and set to launch in 2022, September 2023 was a revised release date that has had fans’ patience stretched thinly even before it was then shifted to October. The blank paged Instagram, @phoebephilo, has an impressive 274,000 followers waiting in the wings, speculative and attentive to any slight move or insinuation that Phoebe may hint at about her new escapades in the realm of fashion.
The website, black with fine white typescript, follows a similar suit, and is waiting patiently, empty and blank. Registration for the website opened on 27th July, and as the ending days of September roll through, and October draws nearer, there is a sense amongst online communities that THE moment is brewing. Just this Saturday, subscribers to the mailing list were reassured that the 30th October was the date to mark in their diaries, and were teased with a few sporadic GIF images of makeupless faces, decorated with chunky silvered jewelry and boxy sunglasses. It is reported that the release will feature 150 styles available to buy in the UK, US and Europe, and it will be interesting to see how quickly these registered shoppers fill their virtual bags once the collection springs fully into life on the screen.
The grandeur of the Phoebe Philo grip on the public has formed through no extensive social media campaign, or obvious strategised plan. Quite oppositely, unlike the majority of highly structured campaigns that hinge on this drop culture, Phoebe’s allure is utterly and organically authentic. Her name has remained pertinent and effervescent, and on the tips of tongues, even when her face and being has been absent. She has been able to fall off the radar, in relation to her physicality, but remained very much planted and rooted in the mind of fashion, and the interest from her loyal community of so-called Philophiles seems to be ever growing.
In many ways, Philo has also come to be a spearhead for the professional female community, crafting her dominance in a historically male game, and being none other than appropriately demanding in what she needed, and wanted, and when. At Celine, she insisted on being established in London, to which the house , uncommonly leaned and obliged to her requirements. And more recently, she has broke away from the obvious trajectory of her career, pressing pause in her fashion story, whilst in the middle of an industry that famously never stops. In her taste and style she has also created ripples, cultivate the modern appreciation of fresh understatedness, and chipping away at the infatuation with big name branding, crass logos, and gritty embellishments. Phoebe, with her skill of design, marketing, brand building and image making, has come to iconise a certain allure of a modern woman – sucsessful, strong willed, barefaced, elegantly simple, and keen to get her head down and imprint her difference. Her resistance and retaliation to her organic fame has only warranted her more celebration and admiration, as she has been comically cited to have an “innate fear of fame”.
The release is backed partially by LVMH, with whom Philo has had a longstanding connection with, and she has named the collaboration a seemingly “natural progression” in their coupled relationship. That being said, the new endeavour is explicitly, and pointedly, a one man expedition, and in many ways an independent creative release. For a designer who has shone through other peoples’ big titles name, the moment for Philo to shine through her own name is very much ready and welcome. She told Harpers’ Bazaar “To be independent, to govern and experiment on my own terms is hugely significant to me”.