Phoebe Philo is leaving Céline after a 10 year tenure with the Paris-based brand. As WWD reported on Friday and further confirmed by LVMH, Céline’s Fall/Winter 2018 collection, which will be presented in March, will be the last collection crafted by the designer. WWD states that Philo — who took a two-year hiatus between her time at Chloé and Céline — will not work for another label in the near future and her successor to the LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton-owned house will be named in the coming months.
In a statement seen by WWD, the designer thanked her teams, saying: “Working with Céline has been an exceptional experience for me these last 10 years. I am grateful to have worked with an incredibly talented and committed team and I would like to thank everyone along the way who has been part of the collaborations and conversations … it’s been amazing.”
The news comes on the heels of ever-lingering reports that Philo would depart the house, and as recently as October, it was revealed that LVMH was looking to fill the soon-to-be vacant creative director position at Céline, one of its buzziest brands (thanks to Philo), as Philo was looking for an out, potentially to take the helm at Burberry next year, where its current creative director Christopher Bailey announced he will leave in late 2018.
During her tenure at Céline, which began in 2008, Philo has helped turn the Paris-based brand from a quiet label to a highly in-demand source for garments and accessories, as well as inspiration for fast fashion brands and fellow high fashion labels, as well. As Vogue put it, “Philo remade Céline as the label for unfussy, minimally chic, professional women. You could tell a Céline customer from miles away from the just-so cut of a trench or the bag hung over her arm. During Philo’s tenure, Céline has had not one, but many hit bags—successes from the much-copied Luggage tote to the multi-pocket Trio to the oversize Cabas.”
Philo is leaving the brand at an interesting time. After holding out for years, while other brand were working to adopt an array of digitally-focused marketing and sales tactics, Céline recently, under the direction of new CEO Séverine Merle (who, as of April 1, replaced Marco Gobbetti now serves as the CEO of Burberry), adopted an array of new measures, including the launch of an e-comemrce site (the first shoppable website for the brand) and an Instagram presence.
While online sales have become the fashion industry’s most important and promising engine of growth, Céline was one of the final hold-outs in terms of e-commerce and social media. Philo, herself, who does not maintain any personal social media accounts, has long been opposed to the concept, saying several years ago that “the chicest thing is when you don’t exist on Google.”