Everyone in fashion is talking about the murder of Céline. At the store today, frantic salesclerks tried to cope as best they could. This London flagship store was close to Phoebe Philo’s own heart as she is British; she had a close hand in the store’s design, and the space was a haven for beauty.
I am not someone who is sentimental over shopping. But today I discovered that this store had a lot of meaning for me. I first started shopping there when I went to look for pregnancy photoshoot clothes. Phoebe Philo made me feel beautiful when I needed it most.
I discovered that Céline loved me at my female best: six months pregnant, round, and stunning. It also loved me post partum, when my son and I ventured out five days after his difficult birth as I searched for a special occasion outfit that could love me as I was: bruised, hurting, and longing to feel beautiful.
Céline loved me. I felt an emotional connection to its clothing, because it made me feel that I was ok just as I was. In fact, I was more than ok; I was stunning, beautiful, and radiating femininity. Wearing Céline to my pregnancy photoshoot felt like seeing a ray of February sunlight after weeks of London rain. Phoebe Philo really had a way with women.
I was sad to hear the store will change. I tried to take it all in for one last time: the marbled floors, the dried leaf wall, the black main column. For someone who is often cynical about fashion as fad, I was surprised that this place meant something. And then I realised what it was: Philo reminded me that I could feel beautiful, just as I was, just as I am.
Slimania has already started to creep in. The store has instituted quotas on how many bags customers can buy. The shelves have started balding in places where supply couldn’t keep up. A salesclerk told me that customers had started lining up half an hour before the store opened to ensure they got Phoebe Philo’s final collection. It seems we all rushed to find mementos of a time before the store was filled with cavernous pre-pubescent darkness.
Hedi Slimane, thank you for immortalising Céline.