It’s Being Reported That Phoebe Philo Is Exiting Céline
Céline Fall 2017 Ready-To-Wear.
PARIS — It is being reported that Phoebe Philo is exiting Céline before the end of the year.
Designers are still playing musical chairs at luxury houses and rumors are still floating around the French capital. On February 8, 2016, DM Fashion Book first reported that Philo was indeed stepping down from her post as creative director at Céline (owned by LVMH) after the Fall/Winter 2016 collection (see it here), however at that time, we were wrong because a day later (February 9), an internal memo mentioned that Philo was committed to the house (see it here).
Again, on September 28, 2016, we reported that Phoebe Philo was looking to leave the French luxury brand (see it here).
She was reportedly offered Raf Simons’ former position at Dior following his departure in 2015, but the parties encountered difficulties in closing the deal when Philo insisted upon bringing her team with her to Dior (see it here). Eventually, Maria Grazia Chiuri was appointed Christian Dior‘s new artistic director, the first women to hold the position in the French house’s 70-year history (see it here).
In the latest update, Business of Fashion reports, “LVMH is interviewing designers to replace Céline creative director Phoebe Philo and rebuild the design team in preparation for her eventual departure from the French fashion brand, several industry sources in Paris and London with knowledge of the matter have said.”
“The interviews have been going on for a few months now,” one of the sources said on condition of anonymity. Yet LVMH vehemently denied Philo was about to leave the brand: “We categorically deny any imminent departure of Phoebe Philo from Céline,” a spokesman for LVMH said.
“Another source with knowledge of the situation said Philo was expected to leave by the end of the year and the terms of her departure had been agreed before the summer“. “It smells like the end of an epoch,” one headhunting source said on condition of anonymity.
“Industry sources said potential replacements for Philo could include former Stella McCartney design director Natasa Cagalj, who is now at Ports 1961 and has a similar aesthetic. There is also Michael Rider, whose LinkedIn page lists him as design director of Céline ready-to-wear, though a spokesperson for Céline declined to confirm whether he was still with the label. Another name suggested by sources is Ilaria Icardi, the design director at Victoria Beckham, who was previously senior design director at Yves Saint Laurent and design director at Céline, according to her LinkedIn page.”
Philo is a graduate from London’s Central Saint Martins. Over the past decade, she helped lift the label’s annual sales from €200 million to more than €700 million, according to analysts. (LVMH does not break out figures for Céline).
The label only launched an Instagram account earlier this year, long after competitors. The brand is thought to finally be launching e-commerce later this year under new chief executive Severine Merle, who arrived in April, replacing Marco Gobbetti, who left to take the helm at British label Burberry.
Philo studied with Stella McCartney and followed her when she took the creative director job from Karl Lagerfeld at Chloé in 1997. When McCartney left Chloé to set up her own fashion brand in a joint-venture with what was then called Gucci Group, now part of the conglomerate Kering, Philo was left out of the project and then CEO Ralph Toledano exploited the rift to place her in the top job in 2001. Philo left five years later having significantly boosted Chloé’s sales revenues.
Stay tuned to DM Fashion Book as this story develops!
Céline Fall 2017 Ready-To-Wear.
Photos Credit: Monica Feudi / Indigital.tv