Celine Surprises and Delights With Spring Runway

Bertrand Guay/AFP/Getty Images
Celine spring 2018

Leave it to Phoebe Philo to show something that looked new, challenging even, to the eye at Paris Fashion Week.

Now that was a Paris fashion collection.

Celine designer Phoebe Philo succeeded where several others have failed this season in surprising and delighting us by showing something that looked new, challenging even, to the eye.

In a time when female power, and what that looks like, is at the center of the zeitgeist, Philo played with many of its signifiers, from broad-shouldered "power suit" jackets, to basic anatomy; indeed, she didn’t just free the nipple, she turned it into brooch — in hammered gold — pinned to the lapel of an unapologetically powder puff pink blazer, worn over a pleated skirt in soft lemon yellow. And I really loved how one side of the blazer was tucked into the skirt, sort of how we all try to reconcile our masculine and feminine sides on a daily basis.

The spring 2018 runway show was held inside a bubble tent (ah, the symbolism) at the Paris Tennis Club, with benches that were covered in colorful camp blankets. And there was plenty in the collection for braving the elements, including an oversized trench coat with cape-like outer layer that folded up on itself like tent flaps, and a roomy anorak top, worn with chevron-patterned flared pants and boots.

What was most surprising though, coming from Philo, were the variety of feminine dresses (something for every woman), spanning from a white sundress, open at the sides, with a chevron of lace insets in front, to a mustard-colored shirt dress embroidered with the tiniest ostrich feathers; a terracotta-colored caftan to a red-and-white scarf print lady dress with a killer gold horseshoe belt.

Celine has been setting accessories trends ever since Philo put haute Birkenstocks on the runway, and this season's new fugly footwear was the dad sneaker, which came in clunky black or white. For the fugly faint of heart, she also showed smart ankle boots and two-toned loafers with oversized, floppy tassels. Handbags were soft and squishy for cradling under the arm, or XXXL — because women with full lives need a tote big enough to carry them.