Young Phoebe-Philes Have Been Waiting for This Moment

Fashion

Like many high schoolers in the early to mid-2000s, Telsha Anderson-Boone spent a lot of time scrolling through Tumblr. A fashion obsessive—now 30, she owns and operates her own store, called T.A., in New York—she saved any image that piqued her interest to a folder on her computer called “Style.”She didn’t realize it at the time, but many of the looks she liked had something in common: They were all designed by Phoebe Philo, the then-creative director of Celine (the brand was styled “Céline” during her tenure, but has since rebranded sans the accent). Later, Anderson-Boone changed the folder name to simply “PP.”

paris, france september 27 celine by phoebe philo outfit details during paris fashion week springsummer 2019 on september 27, 2018 in paris, france

A Paris Fashion Week attendee wears Philo-designed Celine pieces in 2018.

Melodie Jeng

In September, Philo will launch her own eponymous label after a five-year hiatus from the industry and public life. Excitement around her return has been mounting pretty much since the day she left. But for many shoppers in their late twenties and early thirties, who were in middle school when Philo was at Chloé (2001–2006), and high school and college when she was at Céline (2008–2018), the occasion is an especially momentous one. Finally, after years of collecting “Old Céline,” as they call it, and hearing their elders talk about the good old days, when it was everywhere and theirs for the taking, they can purchase Philo’s ready-to-wear fresh off the rack and participate in the frenzy themselves.

It felt like the adult I wanted to be.”—Olivia Haroutounian on Philo’s design aesthetic

a model walks the runway at the spring 2003 ready to wear fashion show photo by giovanni giannonifairchild archivepenske media via getty images

Erin Wasson walking the Chloé spring 2003 show.

Fairchild Archive

“When I was in college, I could barely afford a slice of pizza, so at the time there was no way I was buying $800 shoes or a $1,500 dress,” Anderson-Boone says. “So I saved them [to the folder], and then I began to discover resale.” Over time, she tracked down and invested in her Old Céline favorites: leather mules, the two-tone Madame ankle boots from spring 2018, and the mohair slides from fall 2018. (Accessories, which tend to be more affordable, are oftentimes an entry point for young consumers.) “I waited a long time,” she says. Now she can’t wait to mix the old with the new.

I definitely bought a pair of Adidas because of her in high school.”—Eden Pritikin

“I remember watching a Style.com video about her spring 2010 Céline show and thinking, Oh, this is going to change the tides,” says Blythe Marks, 28, a vintage dealer and writer, who was a teenager living in Phoenix at the time. (She also collected Céline images under the Tumblr tags “Art Gallery Owner” and “AGO.”) “By fall 2010, you couldn’t go anywhere without minimalism being the buzzword, and Phoebe was at the forefront of that. So I was intrigued from the jump.”

alexis novak wears old céline

Alexis Novak wears Old Céline.

Travis Schneider

“It gave [me] permission to be bold but also relaxed,” says Alexis Novak, 32, founder of Tab Vintage, of Philo’s Céline era, from which she’s since collected about 60 pieces. “She humanized fashion, in a way, and made me realize that you can just wear sneakers and some cool tailored trousers and still be stylish.” Olivia Haroutounian, 24, a vintage dealer and TikToker based in Texas who collected Philo’s more “girly” Chloé-era pieces on Poshmark in high school, also found her Céline look to be aspirational, yet attainable. “It felt like the adult I wanted to be,” she says.

paris october 05 models walk the runway during the celine pret a porter show as part of the paris womenswear fashion week springsummer 2010 on october 5, 2009 in paris, france photo by antonio de moraes barros filhowireimage

Céline spring 2010.

Antonio de Moraes Barros Filho

Beyond what Philo sent down the runway—which evolved beyond minimalism to offer something more eclectic, yet equally wearable, by the end of her time at Céline—her personal style inspired a cult following as well. “I definitely bought a pair of Adidas because of her in high school,” says Eden Pritikin, 26, also a collector.

I hope she does literally whatever she wants.”—Blythe Marks

This bodes well for a line that, although backed by LVMH, has no heritage to live up to other than that of its founder. “I hope she does literally whatever she wants,” Marks says. That said, she still has some wishes: Given that Philo’s taken time away from the spotlight, “I would like her to address an aging woman’s wardrobe. What is sexy for women in their fifties and beyond that isn’t being dictated by an algorithm or the fantasy of a designer? I started buying Céline because I could see myself, as someone in my twenties, wearing it until I am [Philo’s] age, or older, and I hope she continues that.”

a black woman wearing a yellow coat walking down a city street

Telsha Anderson-Boone

Justin Boone//Instagram

Philo’s younger fans have grown up along with her, and it’s the timeless, principled quality of her output that appeals to them, especially in today’s era of rapid microtrends and empty buzz. Pretty much whatever she does, they’ll follow her to the end, Marks says: “Even if it’s just a good white T-shirt.”

Headshot of Emilia Petrarca

Writer

Emilia Petrarca is a Brooklyn-based freelance writer covering fashion and culture. She previously worked at New York Magazine’s The Cut, where she spent five years obsessing over everything from going-out tops to Anna Wintour’s lunch to The RealReal. Her work has since been featured in The New York Times, T Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, and more. She also took *that* video of Larry David at NYFW. 

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