I’m always looking for pieces that give me the pulled together look I aspire to and also a sense of ease. Céline, under the leadership of Creative Director Phoebe Philo, formerly of Chloé (and a great pal and Central Saint Martins classmate of the great Stella McCartney, who preceded her to the Chloé throne), fits the bill, even if it is a bit rich for my blood. Philo has brought Céline, a storied but long-slumbering Parisian brand, back to life, with a simple, edgy-meets classic silhouette that the cool girls (ahem, cool women) want to wear. The pieces above are a case in point. I’d wear those slouchy black trousers on the left with a white cotton tank for a relaxed but polished weekend look. I’d wear the cropped black leather with just about anything — a white crewneck dress with a fitted waist and an A-line skirt; a black sheath dress; a tissue-weight, body skimming t-shirt and a pair of flare-leg jeans; I could go on and on.
The black sleeveless coat below would add instant polish to anything from a pencil skirt and sleeveless top to a pair of pencil leg pants (ankle length jeans) worn with a tunic length silk tank. As for the white sleeveless coat, don’t even get me started. It has that rich hippie vibe that I would die for, an instant cool that could turn even a classicist into into a very groovy girl.
Céline has a simplicity that I find ideal for a super busy life. It’s the perfect city travel wardrobe — imminently packable and polished and all around divine. Toss a few pieces in your rollaboard, along with a handful of tees and tanks and you’re good to go. Dress it up or dress it down. Add bohemian jewels or rocker-chick jewels or no jewels at all. And speaking of accessories, Céline has ended my years’ long debate. To Birkin or not to Birkin, that was the question, back in the days before the new Céline, when I wondered whether, a few million dollars richer, I might not just buy an Hermès Birkin bag. The verdict is in: I will not. I will instead buy a Céline Luggage Tote, a solid taupe one, a leopard one and perhaps a color-blocked one like the one below (though I might opt for a different color mix). They’re cheaper than a Birkin, and a measure more divine.
I’d also buy both of the gems below if you twisted my arm. The one captures the glam-boho vibe I find myself drawn to over and again, and the other would satisfy my occasional ladylike urge without compromising my cool.
Of course none of this gorgeousness would have happened without Philo (that’s her below rocking her own trousers and tennies TFRL look). She’s a genius designer to be sure, but she’s also so much more. In her decision to leave Chloé in 2006 to raise her family, and in her decision to take the helm at Céline 3 years later, with the condition that she’d be based out of London where her family lives, she is a quintessentially modern woman, and a trailblazer who is using her power to make career and family work. One hopes this will become a trend, not just for women at the top, but for all women (and men) everywhere.
PHOTOGRAPHY (bottom) via Vogue (all else) via Céline
PAULA PURYEAR is a Lawyer, Film & Television writer, HuffPoster and Founder of Revel In It Mag.