Six years after she left her post as the creative director of Celine, two years after initially announcing plans to start her own brand, and three months after releasing a sign-up for orders this past July, Phoebe Philo’s namesake brand is officially here.
On Monday, those who entered their information all those months back for updates on the designer’s upcoming line were greeted with an email. The subject line? “Phoebephilo.com is now open.” Like a feminine oasis in a dry desert of male creative directors, the patron saint of wearable clothes with a point of view had finally returned. A click on the link confirmed the news: visitors to the site were greeted with campaign images, stark with Philo’s name in bold red. Models—including Philo muse Daria Werbowy—showed off leather coats and bags, ski goggle-like sunglasses, and trousers that zip up the leg for a sexy little surprise, should the wearer so dare.
From there, one could navigate to the gold mine—the shop section, where a scroll-through greeted Philo fans with what they’ve been waiting for. Leather jackets created a strong shell around the wearer, and mini dresses covered in an embroidered twill shag were made for those who want to feel more exposed and flirty. Basics for both work and play were elevated in a very Philo way. Heels featured an elongated, flattened toe, perfectly riding the line between classic and kooky. Thin, knit long-sleeve shirts hugged the sides of the model’s shoulders, and double-breasted jackets were nipped in beautifully at the waist. There was a bit of an ’80s edge, with big shoulders, lots of Philo-signature trousers, and exaggerated proportions all around. On the whole, the collection felt modern and fresh.
Of course, the price reflects the demand. Pieces range from $450 for a pair of (now sold out) sharp, cat-eye sunglasses to $19,000 for a paillette-covered off-white mini dress (a lovely viscose twill coat with elongated bell sleeves is listed without a price, but apparently is going for $25,000). Sticker shock aside, the fashion set is happy—and why wouldn’t they be, with new Philo designs in their life? The Cut’s Cathy Horyn was thoroughly impressed by the offerings, calling the line “the ultimate modern wardrobe from a dissatisfied woman.” Vanessa Friedman of The New York Times, meanwhile, described it as “the kind of adult clothes that suggest a woman gets to decide for herself how she is seen.” Online, some are questioning the pricing (“It’s still a new house so an $8,500 bag right out the gate just feels disconnected,” one X user said,) while others are making the arguably surface-level comparison to The Row which is also beloved for its quiet luxury essentials. For every person who feels the pieces are too simple to offer anything new, however, there are three Philophiles rejoicing over the oversized cargo pants and sheer, scarf-adorned blouse.
Those who are all-in will be glad to hear that Philo, having gotten in the release rhythm, will continue debuting more garments. The Philo team has three rounds of drops planned, including A1, made up of the current offering. Those will be available until December, with A2 arriving in the spring and A3 coming at a later date. These “Edits,” each comprised of three drops, will come twice a year—but this first one, with 150 styles offered, will be the largest in volume. All the pieces will be available only online, and despite their release schedule, they are meant to live in a trendless vacuum as “a seasonless, continuous body of work.”
While many designers would have launched their new brand with a world tour and flourish of press—or, at the very least, a runway show—that has never been Philo’s way. It also wasn’t necessary. Philophiles have been waiting for this drop for what feels like a lifetime; the designer should have no problem in the sales department. Already, pieces are selling out, and the brand has stated they plan on “producing notably less than anticipated want.” So, if you have your eye on that shag-embroidered mini skirt or tassel-covered bomber, don’t wait.