a real life
interview by TIM BLANKS
purple INTERVIEW PURPLE FASHION MAGAZINE : S/S 2013 ISSUE 19
For years we’ve wanted to interview Phoebe Philo for Purple, and we are extremely happy that the British designer is finally ready to tell us more about her current state of mind. Formerly Creative Director at Chloé, she decided to take a two-year hiatus from fashion to devote time to her family. Once back at work, she took over and entirely reinvented the French fashion house Céline, creating lines of clothing that are fresh, unconventional, totally modern, elegantly sexy, visually surprising, and perfectly classic in an understated Parisian way that we like and admire.
This is not only the result of her personal talent: Phoebe Philo has a strong work ethic and an uncompromising attitude that comes from the ’90s, when she got her rigueur and an obession for what she calls “real women.” Tim Blanks met her in her London studio, right after she showed her first collection following the birth of her third child. “I’m happy to be part of the conversation, but I do believe it’s all in the clothes, that stuff,” says Philo just as we start talking. “What we’re doing now is not necessary,” she continues, then she goes to the bathroom, to the point that I wonder if she’ll even come back. Which isn’t to say that she isn’t great company — droll as hell, quick to laugh, and hopelessly addicted to Chapstick.
Her office, at Céline’s in London, in a stately Georgian house on Cavendish Square, hints at other worlds. Against one wall, a tired-glam tiger-print couch bought off the street for £10. Against another, a very smart piece by Mexican artist José Dávila featuring Marcel Duchamp precisely excised from a photograph, leaving just his silhouette. (The there/not there thing is very Phoebe.) And on the facing wall: a diamond-dust portrait of Joseph Beuys by Andy Warhol.
PHOEBE PHILO — The glitter. I tried to make a fabric like it, but it’s real diamond dust, so I couldn’t.
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