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Paris Fashion Week: Celine's clean sweep

March 8, 2010 |  3:00 pm
Celine-fall-2010-pfw Get ready to banish ruffles, beads and bows because fashion is cleaning up. A smart, new minimalism is sweeping the fall runways in Paris.

In her second runway show for Celine, Phoebe Philo proved she is fashion’s new pace setter, showing a follow-up to her influential spring collection that was once again so appealingly spare and modern, it made me want to set fire to my closet.

When the first model stepped out onto the pristine white carpeted runway, dressed in a navy blue funnel neck coat cut with military precision, and a pair of riding boots with sensible, metallic gold block heels, it was clear that Philo meant business.

The show wasn’t a piece of performance art, or an excuse to sell a lot of sparkly do-dads, it was about wardrobe solutions, pure and simple, in a range of neutral shades of black, navy, camel and white.

Offering a welcome alternative to the dress and cardigan look that has dominated women’s fashion for the past few seasons, Philo brought back the idea of separates, something we saw in New York at Marc Jacobs and Michael Kors, and in Milan at Prada.

Celine-fall-2010-pfw-2010 These were clothes designed by a woman to answer a woman’s needs -- a glossy black leather A-line skirt paired with a white lace patch pocket T-shirt was dressed up enough to go from day to night. A black double-face wool skirt with a cutaway front, topped by a white silk blouse with long neck ties left to flutter in the breeze, was for those times when it is in a working woman’s interest to show some leg.

Worn over a cream silk tunic with long shirt tails, a boxy black jacket and cigarette pants was a fresh alternative to the suit, and a black shift with deep leather patch pockets was for when you want a go-to black dress with a little something extra.

Philo, a former design assistant to Stella McCartney, was creative director at Chloe beginning in the late 1990s. She is credited with making that fashion house cool again (remember the Chloe Paddington bag?), before resigning in 2006 to spend more time with her family in her native Britain.

Last year, she was brought in to head Celine, the French sportswear label owned by luxury conglomerate Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy, which has seen a revolving door of designers over the last decade, including Michael Kors.

Celine-fall-2010-11-pfw Philo appears to have the magic touch this time around, too, having already influenced the direction of fashion with her first runway show, presented back in October.

The clean-front khaki miniskirts and natural-colored suede topcoats arriving in Zara stores now? They look an awful lot like Celine spring.‬

-- Booth Moore, reporting from Paris


More photos from Celine's fall 2010 collection

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Photos: Celine's fall 2010 runway in Paris. Credit: Peter Stigter and Jonas Gustavsson / For The Times