Last Paris Fashion Week, I was in an after-party, smoking outside with a friend who used to work for Céline. He heard from the grapevines that Phoebe Philo was leaving the French fashion house and moving back full-time to London to lead Burberry. He asked me who I think would replace her and we exchanged theories. I dismissed it as mere workplace gossip and besides, being a millennial, I could not imagine Céline without Phoebe Philo. Weeks later though, it was in the headlines of every major magazine, and, despite LVMH “categorically” denying such a move, I found myself asking the question again.
My first bet would be Christophe Lemaire. His very French preoccupation with material, his minimal approach to silhouettes, and his philosophy that clothing should be protective, personal, and durable echoes what Céline stands for today. Of course, his recent stint as Uniqlo U makes this a bit improbable.
Another possible successor is Guillaume Henry. Currently the Creative Director of Nina Ricci, he trained under Ricardo Tisci before reviving the French label Carven during his 5-year stay there. His knack for tailoring, an intuitive understanding and employment of color in his clothes would be loved by the contemporary Céline woman.
Clearly, the next head of Céline doesn’t have to be French, so my next guess would be a bit far-flung but not entirely unlikely: Australian designer Toni Maticevski. Loved by women across age groups for his structured pieces, very fine needlework, and his masterful manipulation of neoprene and other tricky technosport materials, I imagine that he would be a great fit for Céline.
And so the game of musical chairs continues in fashion, and if we are to follow previous patterns, it’s clear that there are no patterns and that it could be anyone’s game.
Photo credits: Vogue Runway