As far as fashion designers are concerned, there are few who are as iconic and special as Phoebe Philo. Philo began her career at Chloé in 1997 as a design assistant to the creative director at the time, Stella McCartney. A mere 4 years later, Philo succeeded McCartney as the creative director at Chloé (holy career inspiration!). Philo has proven time and time again that she knows how to knock a handbag design out of the park, and she has a loyal following of handbag lovers behind her. During her tenure at Chloé, she was the mastermind behind the iconic Paddington bag (aka one of the biggest it-bags the fashion world has ever known). The success of the Paddington skyrocketed Phoebe Philo from successful creative director to iconic fashion powerhouse, but little did we know at the time that her work had just begun. After ending her tenure at Chloé, Philo was appointed creative director of Céline not long after. Soon after joining Céline, Philo released the wildly popular Luggage Tote, which basically verified Philo as fashion royalty (at least as far as I’m concerned!). The ability to create not one, but two, major it-bags in such a short time frame demonstrates that Philo is in tune with what consumers are looking for, and knows how to execute her designs masterfully.
The Luggage Tote has been released in many variations, and to be honest it can be a bit headache inducing to try and keep track of them all! Luckily PurseBlog created this comprehensive guide back in 2014, which I still find extremely helpful despite the fact that it’s nearly five years old. The guide breaks down all of the sizes and materials, and even includes modeling shots, so it’s a great resource and starting point for anyone looking to purchase a Luggage Tote. Although Philo has since left Céline, the Luggage Tote is still available for purchase, and there is also an abundant supply on the resale market for anyone lusting after this bag.
I recently took the plunge and purchased a Phantom Tote from Fashionphile, and I honestly could not be more thrilled about it. Although this bag has sat on my holy grail wish list forever, the purchase was a bit of an impulse buy. The price and excellent condition of this bag created a perfect shopping storm, and I was entering my credit card details before I could even process what was happening. After the reality of my impulse purchase settled in, I was worried the bag would look more worn upon arrival, but I was very pleasantly surprised when I opened the box to find that my Phantom was in better condition than described. You know that feeling when you finally become the owner of an item that you have dreamed about having for years? Is there anything better? My Phantom has quickly become the crown jewel of my collection, and I instantly cherished this bag upon first wear. I feel like I finally have my piece of the Philo magic, and I get it now.
The Phantom was designed in two sizes, medium and large, and is lined in luxurious suede. It’s important to mention that you can tuck the wings in if you prefer a smaller, sleeker look. The Phantom Luggage Tote is similar to the smaller versions of the Luggage Tote, but has a wider “wing span”, and a braided zipper pull detail. Funnily enough, the zipper pull is one of the primary reasons I favored the Phantom over mini sized Luggage Tote, I just adore it! This bag can carry a ton, and while it certainly becomes very heavy if you load it up too much, I love that I can carry everything I need without worrying about space (including my laptop!). Phoebe Philo’s tenure at Céline may be over, but the beauty of the Luggage tote isn’t. I believe that while the Luggage Tote was clearly an it-bag, it also has proven itself as a modern classic.
Phoebe Philo has been staying under the radar since her departure from Céline, but I have high hopes she will return with a new knock-out handbag design for me to obsess over. What about you, are you a Philo fan too?!