Proportion Play and Other Eccentricities at Céline for Spring/Summer 2017

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The fascinating and odd construction of Céline’s tremendously thought-provoking collection begged for a closer look.

Season after season, Céline’s Phoebe Philo has grown increasingly quieter and quieter about the meaning behind her collections. While most designers cite mood boards, artists, icons, locations, and other reference points, Philo says very little. For Spring/Summer 2017, she topped her presentation with a quote from artist Dan Graham, who created the show’s elaborate plexiglass set; “I want to show that our bodies are bound to the world, whether we like it or not”.

Photo: Courtesy of Imaxtree

What Graham and Philo were getting at was the side of fashion that dreams of escaping earthly rules.

Given gravity and other natural laws, this statement seems almost absurdly obvious, but what Graham – and subsequently Philo – was getting at was the side of fashion that dreams of escaping earthly rules. Therefore, Philo irreverently toyed with proportions, tying up ballooning tweeds over crisp poplin blouses, showing flared leather culottes (which are already proportionally odd), and cocooning a cream-colored cape around the body that clung together with ruched detail at the neck.

Philo also investigated ways to untether the body from the Earth by transferring naked silhouettes onto maxi dresses and designing webbed lace that drew concentric circles around the chest on other looks. While covering up the body, she made explicit what was underneath. Similarly, Graham’s curving set pieces also served to distort and disgorge the human form. The fascinating and odd construction of Céline’s tremendously thought-provoking collection begged for a closer look, and mismatched footwear added to the dizzying effect of Philo’s unexpected details.

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