Few designers manage to truly dictate the sartorial choices of a generation. Phoebe Philo is one of them. The Chloe veteran, who was named by Time Magazine one of world's 100 most influential people in 2014, has nearly single-handedly managed to influence the wardrobe of women of a range of ages since she took the helm of Céline in 2008. From bona fide Céline devotees to those shopping the fast fashion copies (Zara has, after all, been known to constantly reproduce a large number of Céline looks), Philo’s touch is undeniable and it is everywhere. The creative talks about controlling the brand’s image, not wanting to be interviewed, beauty, and more …
On not allowing media backstage at her runway shows: Once the show has happened there's no need to control any image, but I don't like the idea of people sending out images before we've even done it. We don't allow anyone to do that. I don't like all that 'model backstage standing around having her picture taken in a stupid pose.'
On being interviewed: I just feel it's really unnecessary ... I think that the clothes say it all much better than I can. I always find it strange after a show when everybody comes backstage and says: 'What was it all about'? It's like: 'You've just seen it. What do you mean?' My instinct is to say: 'What did you think? What did you get from it?' And yet they want you to fill in even more. To me, the show is quite a complete story. There's nothing more for me to say and, anyway, it doesn't matter what it was meant to say. It's out there. It can be whatever anyone watching it thought it was, surely.
On being approached by LVMH: I was heavily pregnant with my second child and LVMH contacted me to find out what I was up to. I remember having this huge tummy. We agreed it wasn't the right time to go into details, but I said I was looking at going back to work at some point. So, I had my baby, and I think when he was four months old and I was ready, the conversation began again. We looked at a business model for [a completely new, eponymous brand for Philo]. We talked about the products I wanted to do and the vision I had for it.
And then Celine came into the picture. LVMH seemed very happy to allow me to do everything I would have done for my own label there, basically giving me the same amount of control, and it just felt right. It's never been important to me that my name is above shop windows, and I get a lot of comfort out of having something I can stand behind. Let Celine be the name and the front of it, and I just quietly come to work every day and get on with it. It's nice. It fits.
On fashion: Fashion never stops. Whatever happens, literally the show must go on, the date is set and whether we’re ready or not we have to do a show on that day. It is a love-hate relationship.
On magazines: I don't buy magazines.
On beauty: What I really do believe is that anybody – and it really doesn't matter what shape your body is – can be seductive and sexy and gorgeous and beautiful. I use an extreme idea of beauty as a way of showing Céline but I don't believe it has to be like that outside of the fashion show.
On her work: I find mediocrity hard. I find that whole area difficult. I'm a very passionate person, I care very much about what I do. I believe I give it a lot, so it's gotta be good, otherwise what's the point?