In fashion, 2023 was a year of confusion, but perhaps the most confusing element of all was how to feel about Phoebe Philo and her long-anticipated, drops-driven return to the scene. Actually, don’t call them drops, the Phoebe Philo people say. Internally, the Supreme-style product releases are referred to as “deliveries.” After all, they’re not sloughing off $40 screen-printed tees, are they?
No, they are selling what the industry’s top critics deemed the future of fashion: four-figure cotton shirts with collars stitched to pop, five-figure knitted dresses covered in radiating sequins, and leather coats so expensive you have to ask about the price. But along with the expected insider praise, pedestrian fans of all ages pushed back, declaring that the world had changed in the five years since Philo resigned from her post as creative director of Céline, the job that made her so famous. Phoebe Philo, the line, was primed to fall short of the lofty expectations of its demanding, emotional audience.