There are those names in fashion that transcend the typical role of designer for a major fashion house and instead become almost as well known as the house they design for. Phoebe Philo is one of those transcending names. Philo has a pretty impressive resume. She acted as creative director of Chloé from 2001 to 2006 and, most notably, of Celine from 2008 to 2018. During the British designer’s time at Chloé, she pioneered nonconformist cool-girl chic, which the house has since become synonymous with. Whilst there, she was also responsible for one of the most quintessentially Y2K It-Bags ever designed. And Philo at Celine is the stuff of fashion legend. At the helm of the fashion house, she redefined womenswear with her bold, minimalist, and clean-cut aesthetic, which established a new era for Celine. This, of course, included some of the most iconic and sought-after It-Bags of the 2010s.
And now Philo is set to launch her own namesake brand. Since the news broke, the fashion world has been aghast with both excitement and speculation about what fresh joys PHOEBE PHILO the label will treat us to. Will there be epochal looks and breakthrough bags in the brand’s future? Knowing Philo, most probably. But, for now, let’s take a look back at her most iconic bag designs to date.
Chloé Paddington Bag
Dust off your velour tracksuit and double denim ensembles because we’re heading back to the year 2005 to reminisce about a Chloé (and Phoebe Philo) classic – the Chloé Paddington Bag. Boasting long top handles, a spacious, unstructured silhouette, and a heavy-duty logoed padlock, the Paddington proved to be one of the era’s most memorable It-Bags (and the early ‘00s boasted many). It was carried by all of the Y2K celebrities and prompted several subsequent versions. In true Philo fashion, the design helped establish the era-defining heavy hardware aesthetic for bags. In other words, this was a bag that had an attitude. In 2019, Chloé’s then creative director, Natacha Ramsay-Levi, unveiled the Paddington’s long-awaited successor, the Aby Bag. The design sports a similar statement padlock detail but is structured and features a singular top handle and crossbody strap.
Celine Luggage Tote
Nothing exudes the fashion of the 2010s quite like the Celine Luggage Tote. Released for spring at the start of the decade, the Luggage Tote’s unique look very quickly made it a popular bag choice for fashion’s elite. The tote is made up of a structured square shape and the bag’s sides protrude outwards, creating a rather unusual silhouette. The bag features a front zipped compartment and dual rounded top handles. Celine’s logo is found discreetly embossed on the front of the bag. But regardless, there’s no mistaking which brand Philo’s sleek design belongs to. Celine’s Luggage Tote helped establish the 2010s as the era of tote love it has come to be remembered as. The design is still available today and can now be found in many sizes and color combinations but does not garner the level of handbag mania it once did.
Celine Trapeze Bag
Also released in 2010 and sporting a similar trapezoid shape, the Celine Trapeze Bag is the Luggage Tote’s little sister. The bag features side wings that can be made wider or folded inside using the snap button closures. The design includes a front flap opening with a square clasp, back pocket and a single top handle. The Trapeze is a more rectangular shape and is overall less structured than its Luggage Tote counterpart. Unlike the mini and micro bag furor of today, the 2010s were a time when big bags reigned supreme. The Trapeze was one of the styles which epitomized fashion’s obsession with roomy bags during this period.
Celine Trio Bag
The Celine Trio Bag perfectly encapsulates Philo’s signature sleek and sharp aesthetic for the brand. Released in 2011, the style got its name from the trio of zipped compartments which make up the bag. Like many of Philo’s other bags for Celine, the Trio Bag is adorned with the house’s name in small lettering. The bag’s accordion style makes it exceedingly functional. And what’s even more functional than three zipped subdivisions? When those three separate sections can unsnap from one another and be carried independently.
Celine Cartable Pillow Bag
Long before fashion’s obsession with It-Pouches (Bottega Veneta The Pouch, Fendi First, Coach Pillow Tabby Shoulder Bag, Louis Vuitton Coussin – need we go on?), Philo produced more than her fair share of pillow-inspired pouch designs. At Celine, the designer began incorporating the cushy bag style as early as Fall/Winter 2013. One standout design is the Celine Cartable Pillow Bag which the house launched for Spring/Summer 2016. Its soft and squishy exterior, along with its ability to fit chicly under your arm, mean it bears a striking resemblance to many of today’s covetable fluffy pouches. FYI – it’s hardly shocking that Daniel Lee, the genius behind Bottega Veneta’s recent succession of mega It-Bags (The Pouch included), previously worked under Philo at Celine.