從Phoebe Philo離任Celine,看真正的領袖 Phoebe Philo-What Makes a Good Leader?

​There has been a lot of big news sweeping the fashion scene this New Year. Fashion and design have so many similarities. As a maven, I can’t wait to talk about it. Kim Jones has announced he’s leaving Louis Vuitton. Phoebe Philo, who has served for a decade as creative director at Céline, is leaving as well. Rumor has it she will be taking over Karl Lagerfeld’s position at the helm of Chanel, but the 84-year-old Lagerfeld doesn’t seem quite ready to put down the scissors just yet. A lot of people who fell in love with Céline because of Philo don’t know what to do with themselves. It feels just like it did when Alber Elbaz left Lanvin in 2015.

新一年,時裝圈傳來不少大消息,時裝跟設計關係密不可分,我這個設計迷當然也留意這方面的消息。Louis Vuitton的Kim Jones宣布離任; 而在Celine擔任十載設計總監的Phoebe Philo也公布了離任消息。有傳,她將接任Karl Lagerfeld的Chanel總舵位置,但84歲的Lagerfeld似乎還未有意交出其裁縫剪刀,對於一眾因Philo而愛上Celine的粉絲來說,還是不知何去何從。這種感覺,跟Alber Elbaz於2015年離開Lanvin也是同出一轍。

The Pre-Fall 2018 series, to be released this month in Paris, will be her farewell. / 本月底在巴黎發布的Pre-Fall 2018系列,將會是其告別作。

This also reveals an interesting phenomenon, which is that in the fashion world, we’re now in an era when designers are bigger than brands. For me, this represents progress, not regression. It’s just like how people who really understand cinema no longer care about big stars or big productions, but instead follow the directors. They trust in that person’s taste, and are sure that they will shine no matter what stage they perform on. You need kindred spirits to produce master directors like Akira Kurosawa.


With her upturned collar, sweater, wide-leg trousers and Stan Smith shoes, Philo is her own best spokesperson. / 樽領毛衣、闊腳褲加一雙Stan Smith,Philo自己本身就是品牌的最佳代言人。

No matter how glamorous the brand, it is just a stage. The relationship between the brand and its leading mind can be described as highly complex: without a designer, there can be no brand, but without the brand’s resources, the designer can’t let their imagination run wild and make their dreams a reality. Philo and Elbaz both served their brands with sweat and tears for many years. In Philo’s case, her joining Céline in 2008 transformed it from a second or third rate brand for shoes, sandals and accessories into a hot fashion label. Revenue quadrupled with her at the helm. Philo, who previously worked at Chloé, is a brand savior, a creativity leader, and, more importantly, a uniquely talented designer. Her flowing cuts, elegant colors and timeless designs established a distinctive style for Céline that maintained the brand’s “noble elegance” and “Paris style.” Philo spent ten years shaping the aesthetic roots of the Céline brand. She has said she placed great emphasis on continuity, while also searching for Céline’s unique personality. The key words for her design are: consciousness, sensitivity, cloth, discarding the bad for the good, freshness, refinement, caution and attitude. If these things can be planted into the brand’s DNA, then her departure won’t cause Céline to deflate like a balloon.


In her ten years at Céline, Philo has created many classics, with her wide-leg trousers beloved by many women, providing a neutral look with a feminine feel. / Philo在Celine十年,出過不少經典設計,闊腳褲成了不少女性的恩物,中性之餘不失女性韻味。

A true leader isn’t someone who establishes some highly visible achievements in a short time. Instead, you have to see whether they can, in their limited time at the helm, create an autonomous system and style of execution to the point that it can continue its successful formula or create new ones no matter who is in charge. Of course, this is easier said than done. Sometimes a major brand can’t even hang onto their sign. It is too early to say who will be taking charge of Céline, or whether it can stay hot. Behind every leader is a host of servants. What matters is whether they can build something lasting, like Qin Shihuang, who united the six kingdoms, or Confucius, who had countless disciples.