Lisa Corneliusson imagines Phoebe Philo happily skipping a Céline season.
From left: Céline fall 2016, Balenciaga fall 2016, Vetements fall 2016
There’s a lot of talk about pace in fashion these days.
I thought about pace when I say Phoebe Philo’s interpretation of Céline for fall, and the grace in which she allows it to be a peaceful, utilitarian, seasonless stop on the way towards something else.
Backstage, Philo talked about approaching stillness, allowing for the process to take center stage. It felt like another way of saying that there is really no hurry. She’s beyond hurry.
And we should of course all be.
There’s of course a huge issue of class built into this; something inherently privileged in the notion of being beyond hurry. Just as it often is to buy organic food or organic clothes. A woman dressed from top to toe in Céline is in fact rich, i.e not the average woman, and affording that wardrobe has little to do with how many high street knits one has resisted in buying and much to do with being more or less financially independent. And thus embracing Céline’s stillness as an approach to long-lasting fashion; something I myself would love to; is not a viable option for most of us.
It’s a little like people drowned in their own mindfulness. Nothing makes me more stressed out.
Yet Philo’s non-stress echoes two current tendencies in fashion that are both lucky from a sustainability perspective: that of slowing things down and that of promoting utilitarianism. The current poster boy for these trends, Demna Gvasalia, skips pre-collections at Vetements entirely (for a slower pace as well as less clothes) and at his debut as artistic director for Balenciaga, he elegantly intertwined the house’s tailoring heritage in pieces that were also wearable. The Balenciaga debut, to use Phoebe Philo’s words for her own fall collection, felt like it was about “finding the possibilities in wardrobes, fabrics, life in general”.
Investing in 1. less clothes that are 2. well made and 3. wearable are three cornerstones of a more sustainable wardrobe. It’s a start, and after that, we can progress. I too think the banality of this is overwhelming at times, but I also know that it needs to be repeated, time and time again. To myself, to everyone else. And I think this is what Phoebe Philo is saying. If she didn’t have to, she probably wouldn’t have done a fall collection, but instead taken some more time off. (But she had to and she did, opting for wearability.) What if she hadn’t? That would have been a real shake up of the fashion system. Keeping my fingers crossed for no resort. <3
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