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As Phoebe Philo exits Céline after almost 10 years – and 17 collections – we celebrate her legacy by remembering her best moments and most iconic pieces: those that will last forever.

Thank you Phoebe Philo, for sharing your talent, for setting a context for empowered women, for bringing art to fashion and for not caring at all about the internet. You do in fact know what women want and we can't wait to see your next move.

Philo introduced the glove ballerina in her Céline Spring 2015 collection. Another, literally, big hit: these Céline Pre-Fall 2015 earrings. Céline Belt Bag from the Fall 2014 campaign.

1. The glove ballerina

The glove ballerina wasn’t a given when it came – it did indeed look like something we weren’t used to. It wasn’t the first or last ugly-chic Céline shoe either (the reframed Birkenstock came first). But after a few years on the market it’s the default ballerina and everyone imitates. We like the flats more than the heels and they are often available in different sizes and colors both new and on resale sites such as Vestiaire Collective.

2. The accessory effect

No-one has so consistently and brilliantly put it in the details as Phoebe Philo. Her sculptural, geometric jewellery, often oversized and just a little bit odd, have set the stage for a whole new world of accessories. Focus on your accessories and the rest can be the same all year around – and wear your jewellery as art.

3. The modern ‘it’ bags

The Trapeze, the Trio, The Cabas, The Luggage, The Nano, The Phantom. Alongside Johnny Coca, who was Céline’s head design director for leather goods, shoes, hard accessories, jewellery and sunglasses between 2010 and 2015, Phoebe Philo has given Louis Vuitton and Gucci a real ‘it’ bag match. And most of them are timeless enough to wear year after year.

Daria Werbowy in Céline Spring 2013 campaign. Binx Walton in perfect basics in the Céline Fall 2017 campaign. Flamingos shot by Juergen Teller for the Céline Fall 2012 campaign.

4. Sun sensation

Name one person who didn’t crave the sunglasses from Céline’s spring 2013 campaign? And what’s even more worth noticing: they still work. And timeless sunglasses is not an easy product to make, if you think about it.

5. Brave basics

By merging her affinity for menswear, and always covering the basics, Phoebe Philo has managed to hit a contemporary nerve almost every season at Céline. It’s often said that she’s a designer who knows what women wants, and she’s never made a big thing of it. By aiming to, simply, make something strong, she has managed to turn the basic to bold and brave.

6. All about art

Phoebe Philo is all about referencing art, and together with photographer Juergen Teller she has found a way of combining arts, interior, nature, animals and skateboards in fashion campaigns in a way that have been a pleasure to watch – whether you’re a fashion fan or not.

The inimitable Joan Didion for Céline Spring 2015. Daria Werbowy channeling Didion in the Céline Resort 2015 campaign. Daria for the Céline Fall 2012 campaign.

7. Casting Joan Didion

Phoebe Philo casted then 80 year-old author Joan Didion for Céline’s spring 2015 campaign. It was wonderful, although some disagreed, and paved way not only for a wider age range among models chosen to be the face of brands, but also for casting people; with thoughts, feelings and ideas.

8. Perfect knitwear

Knits haven’t been the focus of Célines ad campaigns–but when it comes to long-lasting trends set by Phoebe Philo, the perfectly oversized cashmere crew neck is certainly one of them. Ridiculously expensive, but the luxe cashmere does last a lifetime if you care for it right. And it’s not impossible to find pre-owned ones that are still in pristine condition. A real wardrobe staple.

9. The Daria look

Model Daria Werbowy and Phoebe Philo worked together for seven seasons, and the campaigns, shot by Juergen Teller, have defined the look of the moment every single time. Some of the imagery will stay in our memories forever.

How will we shop in the future? As personalized experiences emerge as the number one trend for 2018 – with tech leading the way – Lisa waits for the real revolution to happen.

I’m currently watching an AMC drama from 2014 called Halt and Catch Fire (available on Netflix, at least in the US). It recreates the dawn of the personal computer era in the 80’s, and the plot revolves around the quest of figuring out the future of technology. Like: will we actually communicate online? It’s pretty good, worth a watch, there are four seasons to indulge in.

And you’ll have to excuse my mushy baby parent brain — as soon as I have an hour with a sleeping baby and nowhere else to be, my mind wonders and I think of “revolutionary” ideas that absolutely have to be written down…

But if you’re still reading this, hear me out: fashion retail is in that same state of uncertainty (as, ehum, personal computing was in the 80’s). Hehe. Please stay with me. 
We know technology is a major driving-force for how retail will look in the future, but there’s still a major disconnect between fashion and tech. It needs to be fine-tuned in a million ways, and it especially needs to be revolutionized at the consumer end. And, it has to figure out the sometimes paradoxical relationship between personal curation (made by a human with feelings) and data-driven curation (that can be personal, as it’s based on consumer patterns, but lacks the genius, wonderful, irreplaceable unpredictability a human selection brings).

How Reformation takes cues from Apple and Tesla

Personalization in retail – customized experiences with the help of data – is the trend that many industry insiders predict as the next big thing. Digital brands already have a lot of data — such as customers’ shopping behavior and perhaps also the footprints of their entire digital lives (hi Facebook, Google and whatever else) — but aren’t sure how to use it in a relevant way.
Experts also agree that the modern luxury consumer wants a unique and personalized experience; a relationship to brands that is more than transactional.
There’s a huge need to treat the wealth of data with respect – I think we’ll start talking more about surveillance issues in fashion retail soon — and most importantly, with creative minds.
I’m not talking about, like, in-store touch screens, although the ones at Reformation, inspired by Apple and Tesla retail experiences allowing you to click on what you want to try on and then find it waiting for you in a dressing room, do feel quite “futuristic”, read more about that here.
I’m talking about entirely new retail experiences. Based on data and hearts.
Ideas that will feel obvious once they are established, perhaps 10 or 15 years from now.
When we will read this text and laugh in the same way we laugh when we watch Halt and Catch Fire episodes about developing chat-rooms or computers with personalities.
Our minds aren’t quite there yet.
But they will. Hopefully?

Maryam Nassir Zadeh in New York, General Store and Shop Super Street in Los Angeles.

Other quick thoughts on the current state of fashion, from a personal perspective, having spent a few weeks in Los Angeles:

– Brick-and-mortar second hand retail is dead. I say this with a heavy heart as I love treasure hunting in whatever city I’m in. But given the supply online nowadays, it’s like my attitude has changed. Today I found a pair of pretty amazing Prada heels in my size, and my old self would’ve been thrilled. But my current self thought that I can find even better ones online.

– Actually, brick-and-mortar second hand retail is not entirely dead. But it will have to take different forms. One brilliant example I noticed the other day is Reformation’s one (out of two) Melrose Avenue store, only offering selected second hand. Very clever and fun.

– A thought on use of words: “second hand” is not so popular, it doesn’t flow well. In Swedish there’s a synonym, “begagnat”, which is even worse, it drives people crazy because it sounds so unfashionable. New words for second hand pop up as its status elevates: “pre-loved” and “pre-owned” are current favorites in English.
And I’ve realized “pre-loved” is also more accurate than “begagnat”, because most garments on leading resale sites like Vestiaire Collective and The Real Real are in fact not previously used. They are brand new, tags and all. Only, the first buyer never got around to wearing it. Which, of course, says everything about the current speed of fashion. We use garments only a few times, or never, before we move on to the next thing.

– Another example of a smart way of offering second hand in a physical store is realized at General Store on Lincoln Boulevard. It’s one of those ridiculously well-curated stores, offering a perfect mix of fashion, interior, ceramics, books and other cute things, new alongside second hand. I was there today and it made me realize one thing about my own shopping behavior:

– Department stores are dead. Well, they are at least struggling. Because more is definitely not more nowadays. For me, and I think I’m not the only one, the only retailers worth my time are the ones that are carefully curated according to my preferences. Maryam Nassir Zadeh, Shop Super Street, that kind. I don’t feel like running around like a mad person in a department store that carries just about everything. And:

– As long as it does that for me — offer a curation that is personal and sincere — it doesn’t matter if the retail experience is digital or physical. Brick-and-mortar retail, then, isn’t dead either, but it needs to change. Perhaps physical stores will work more as complement to digital brand identities in the future.

As 2017 comes to an end, our editor Lisa Corneliusson reflects on what stood out–and what she wishes for the new year.

According to Vogue, 2017 was the year sustainability went from a buzzword to an industry-wide movement. And we all know that if Vogue says so! No but seriously, in my perspective, the shift might have taken a few years, but we’re definitely at the start of a new phase.

A phase where it, as a fashion brand, is odd not to consider sustainability–not the other way around.
And although there’s still a long way to go, this is something worth celebrating. It makes me hopeful. Things will look different in the future.
The road that will take us there, to the future of fashion, is full of opportunities as well as dead-ends and uphill slopes (yup, I’m already back at my default dystopia :)). As I look back at the year in fashion, what I see is a bunch of paradoxes. But at this point I’ve learnt this is not entirely a bad thing when it comes to the fashion industry. Paradoxes often imply some kind of progress; traditions bursting at the seams; and eventually, in the long-term, they often lead to change.

A bunch of luxury houses have done chunky footwear this year, to target street-savvy consumers. They sell for more than retail price on resale sites.

Brands do have feelings

Or, they better have, at least if you ask the new fashion consumer. We’re increasingly interested in knowing more about the brands we choose in order to connect with them. Younger generations want brands to fit into their identities, which demands attractive aesthetics but also heart, conscience, transparency–characteristics that allows for no short-cuts. Without these characteristics, there’s no brand loyalty. And this poses huge challenges for, say, fashion houses that aren’t even really online. It’s no coincidence, Céline finally got an Instagram account and launched an online store this year. And then Phoebe Philo announced her exit! We know she’s not been a fan of social media… Is being offline a possibility for a major brand today? I think so, and I would actually love for a brand like Céline to only be experienced in person. I kind of wished Philo would have gotten her way.

Louis Vuitton x Supreme fall 2017 and Vetements fall 2017

Style and streetwear

In the world of high fashion, this year has been a lot about streetwear x luxury brand collaborations. The year started off with Louis Vuitton introducing their collaboration with Supreme. Some snoozed on it (I did, not because I oppose the collab but because I thought it was boring) while some called it “the most modern moment in fashion that existed in our current time” (to quote Off-White designer Virgil Abloh). The idea of high fashion turning to – appropriating, if you wish – streetwear to gain “speak” to a younger consumer has been tossed around all year, and I do agree there’s no real difference between high fashion and street fashion today. They’re part of the same system. (I would also perhaps agree with Lotta Volkova who said there are no more subcultures.) Vetements is perhaps the most obvious example of this.

The Vetements paradox

Vetement CEO Demna Gvasalia, also creative director of Balenciaga, is often credited to be the first designer at a position like his who “truly understands internet culture” and having given Balenciaga a heart – one that millenials can reflect themselves in. Vetements has experienced massive growth this year and is one of three most sought after brands (and Balenciaga is one of the most commercially successful brands among the young consumers this year). Demna let the world know in June that Vetements was not going to adher to the traditional show system anymore and in August, his brother Guram spoke, wisely, on waste and over production. They moved the Vetements operations from a clubby atmosphere in Paris to be close to nature in Zurich, to stay sane and human and to keep a clear vision on future steps. Demna has commented the insanities of the fashion industry before.  “Stop buying things you don’t need. Start buying clothes you can cherish for years Start looking for quality. Move towards the idea of slow fashion.”

So there are both visions and actions when it comes to disrupting the system and moving towards a less dirty industry.

Yet, it could be argued that Vetements – as well as the Supreme x Louis Vuitton collab – is as far from “sane” and “balanced” you can get in fashion. They are the definition of “it” collections and the clothes are so trendy they cause hysteria. How is that a move towards slow fashion? (I’m currently in LA and the queues outside Supreme are out of this world; so much longer than last year. It is crazy, and the kids are like eight years old! And online, traffic can grow by 16,800 % on the days Supreme releases new stuff. That’s crazy too! I wonder how much Louis Vuitton has to do with this.)

But, it could also be argued that these hyped clothes are instead “collectors’ pieces”, so exclusive that the consumers will treasure them forever–or enter the lucrative resell market. It’s interesting to consider, as the perhaps most important aspect of sustainability in fashion is lifetime: prolonging the life of every garment.

Stella McCartney's synthetic spider silk garments (no spiders!). Faux fur coat at Raf Simon's debut Calvin Klein show. Gucci has announced they'll go fur free.

Pre-loved is better than new

I don’t have the answer to how the world of Vetements and very time-specific “it” collabs correlate to sustainability. It’s however a fact that the second hand market for these things are major and have been so for long. Streetwear resale sites have a market of their own. So yes, we can argue that high fashion took a lesson from the streetwear scene when it comes to this too. Luxury consigment sites of “pre-loved” high fashion, global players like The Real Real and Vestiaire Collective, as well as local alternatives, are growing by the minute, and the attitude towards second hand has also changed a lot in high fashion during the past few years.

When luxury fashion got involved, sustainability became more desirable

As with the attitude towards pre-owned fashion, the fact that the luxury brands finally got on board the sustainability movement made it a matter more widely considered. For example, Gucci announced it will ban real fur from its collections in October. This might sound like a fish in the sea, but it means something, especially since Gucci is the most sought after brand this year.

With that said, luxury fashion, the traditional one, has such a long way to go when it comes to sustainability. Things are slowly beginning to change, but right now, independent brands are so much more interesting to look to for new business models and innovation. I strongly suggest checking out our Brand To Watch section – if you’re not feeling inspired by these brands, I’m not sure what will!

And when it comes to brand loyalty–harder than ever to gain, but more important than ever to offer–these are the players that have the best chance of communicating with their audiences in a direct, non-scripted manner.

Adornment Created, Emma Watson in Louis Vuitton and plant-based eyewear from Crafting Plastics! Studio

Initiatives to watch

Here are some of my highlights from the scene that sees sustainability as normalcy.

Circular Design Speeds by Mistra Future Fashion

This research project attempts to update the definition of fast fashion–making it an even-faster opposite to slow fashion with garments made of, say, paper-like materials that can be used once before recycled. Potentially disruptive, for sure (hehe, “disruptive” must be the most over-used term of 2017?).


You know what? I love Vestiaire Collective and The Real Real. But the fast delivery (via air and couriers) blurs the beauty of buying second-hand globally, whether I like it or not. I will keep turning to these sites instead of buying new, but I will try to turn to local options more often. I live in Stockholm and we have Adornment, with three Cs in focus: “Created” (an own label), “Curated” (artisan brands represented) and “Captured” (selected second hand pieces).

@the_press_tour by Emma Watson

Watson launched this account when going on a promotional tour, tagging all ethical brands and describing them, and pointing out when she re-wore something. And hear this out: her instagram photo of wearing a dress from Louis Vuitton’s Autumn/Winter 2017 collection caused a traffic spike double that of Louis Vuitton’s womenswear show in March (source). That must be the most influential moment of sustainable fashion this year.

Stella McCartney embracing resale with The Real Real

Stella McCartney partnered up withThe Real Real. An important strategic move for a luxury brand to embrace resale instead of fearing it will cannibalize their business. I wrote more about this here.

Plant-based eyewear

Crafting Plastics! Studio launched its first eyewear collection this year, with the world’s first bioplastic frames made completely from renewable, plant-based materials.

Recycled metals

I’m as obsessed with affordable fine jewellery as everyone else right now. AGMES is dedicated to producing sustainable jewelry that has a small environmental footprint.

Sustainable luxury fashion

It’s still requires some work to find sustainable brands that play in the same league as conventional luxury brands. I’m really excited to see the development of Stockholm and London based BITE Studios. It looks beautiful. You can read about their sustainability vision here.

Three important quick facts I learnt in 2017:

  1. Don’t take your car to the shop! 22 % of a garment’s total climate impact happens when we, the consumers, transport ourselves – most often by car – to the stores.
  2. Recycling clothes is a very complicated matter. There’s mechanical and chemical recycling; two different techniques that are good for different materials and that are both still being fine-tuned for a mass market. The recyclability of a garment is something we should all consider more – although it should be the last of all options (maximising the lifetime of a garment comes first).
  3. Better Cotton Initiative (BCI), a cotton certificate used by everyone from H&M to Gap, is really just a little less bad than conventional cotton. If you really want to choose better cotton, choose GOTS certified and Fairtraide.

Three things I wish for the new year:

  1. Someone revolutionizing the market with an irresistible way of leasing desirable clothes.
  2. The scaling of clothing libraries like Lena in Amsterdam.
  3. A business model focusing on how to ship fast and sustainably.

Recommended reading

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Tencel Carpets Is the New Stylish Addition to the ASPLUND Collection

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Style — 17 February, 2018

The Edit: Not So Basic

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Sofia Wood’s Blueberry Crumble Is the Extra in Your Weekend

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Beauty — 16 February, 2018

Alexander Wang Just Brought Back the Claw Clip and We Don’t Mind

Sometimes, the idea of being sustainable and on-trend might not be so far-fetched.

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