There was quite a lot going on at the Celine show on Sunday afternoon. Designer Phoebe Philo threw a great deal at her audience to absorb in short order as her models accelerated down the terra-cotta-checked catwalk.
This pacing was contrasted by the languid and melodic voice of Brazilian musician Caetano Veloso murmuring seductively in Portuguese. And that fast/slow dichotomy resonated in a show that bounced around from designs that had a sexuality about them to those that generated strength, and finally a fluttering of garments that promoted a childlike whimsy.
First let's talk about the sexy bits. A word not really associated with Celine since Philo took the helm. But how else to describe kit sweaters with large holes cut out at the back and sometimes the shape of perky breasts woven directly into the yarn. Then there were the slip dresses bifurcated by color, and the plush satin coat dresses with buttoned-on sleeves, left undone at the top to leave sexy shoulders exposed.
The strength aspect was evident in the outerwear. A zebra coat finished off with a shoulder holster or the austere power of a leather coat made shapely thanks to a drawstring waistline were winners. And the practical white sneakers also spoke of a business woman on the go, her high heels easily fitting inside the XXL Celine tote bags.
As for the whimsy, does it get anymore playful than a scarf that featured big fur pompoms? And the endearing expressions of the otters, foxes or does illustrated onto silk tops were surprisingly charming.
Clearly this collection was a bit of an exploratory mission for Philo. She left no stone unturned and as a result gave the Celine woman a large selection to pick and choose from.