Double Feature II

A 'False Encyclopaedia' double feature with John-Michael O'Sullivan, discussing:
Céline Spring/Summer 2015

As Denise Richards would say, 'It's Complicated".

There were lots of things about Céline's show today that were complicated - far more, at first sight, than there were simple ones. For every slim, knitted dress that unravelled into swaying sheaves of fringe, there was a tunic where the same fringing got tangled with oversized embellished cut-outs. Contrast-stitched trenchcoats were reined in with string-like belts and clogged with flaps, and vibrant printed dresses collapsed into cascades of ruffles and shards of crochet. Even the CMK-designed set (because, to be honest, I'm just in it for the architecture) felt like a Louise Bourgeois spider had been trapped, fossilised and gloss-dipped, marooned in a muddle of differently-coloured seats.

Compared to Phoebe Philo's first runway show for Céline, there are startling similarities, and equally startling divergences. It's not that Céline shouldn't have become complicated. And it's not that Phoebe Philo hasn't already successfully shaped her trajectory to challenge and subvert our expectations of the idea of minimalism. It's just that - when an aesthetic is as starkly formal as hers - it takes little to turn an idea about multiplicity and confrontation into something that just feels overwrought.

Phoebe Philo's Céline always feels a bit like an Alex Katz painting. Lived in and worn by a (red wine) glass and concrete house woman. And also a bit like an heroine from a dysfunctional Woody Allen triangle. And when she puts on that cage vest, Warhol snaps his picture.

1. Céline Spring/Summer 2015
2. Céline Spring/Summer 2010
3. Céline Spring/Summer 2010
4. Céline Spring/Summer 2010
5. Alex Katz The Grey Ribbon, 1990
6. Woody Allen Hannah And Her Sisters, 1986
7. OMA Maison à Bordeaux, 2002
8. Céline Spring/Summer 2015

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