Shiny hardware and painterly touches set off slimline silhouettes at Céline

Céline’s Phoebe Philo presented a daring, upbeat and utterly confident collection

Phoebe Philo at Céline is one of fashion's star performers. She is keenly watched and influential. Her current winter collection with its pastel colours and oversized coats has generated many high street variations.

Not so easy to copy will be her spring/summer collection shown yesterday in the Tennis Club de Paris where her prints – bold brushstrokes in red, black, yellow and green – gave a painterly effect to her racer-back tunics and strong shouldered jackets, a new departure for a designer traditionally associated with cool minimalism.

Her silhouette centred mostly on slimline tunics worn over flyaway striped asymmetrically pleated or thick fishnet skirts, the one keeping the other in firm control.

What will also set this collection apart is the hardware: circular cutouts in silver or gilt on dresses or tops, oversize eyelets piercing black leather coats and low slung shoes with silver orbed heels.


There were big statements everywhere: a shawl-collared coat in sapphire blue, a chunky white knit tunic, lots of adroit pleating and some supremely elegant black dresses. In short, a daring, upbeat and utterly confident collection.

The two young Californians, Carol Lim and Humberto Leon, who are revitalising Kenzo sent out a breezy, lighthearted collection in La Cité du Cinéma, a vast new film studio complex in northern Paris.

Inspired by the ocean and fusing tailoring with beach living, their summer line-up combined zany monochrome graphics and colourful scribble prints on laser cut jackets, easygoing trousers or mini skirts in shiny papery fabrics.

Open-back tunics were airy and some biker jackets inset with mesh were embroidered with dolphin motifs.

Their new t-shirts and sweaters bearing the slogan “No Fish, No Nothing” highlighting their partnership with the Blue Marine Foundation, will go on sale in January.

RESPONSIBLE FOR the promotion of one of France's most famous items of clothing, the French beret, Mark Saunders is the marketing and export director of Laulhère (pronounced low lair), which was founded in 1840 and is the last authentic beret manufacturer in the country.

He is from Tallaght and left a lucrative job in Dublin in 1995 after falling in love with a French woman and following her to Po, where he worked for a time in a bar to improve his French.

A keen snowboarder, he developed a business on the side making ski hats, which he sold to Kangol in 2007.

Laulhère is the official beret supplier to the French military and thousands of berets every year are sold not only to the fashion industry but to armies in Senegal, Chad and Kurdistan as well as to the Dubai police.

Saunders travels extensively “and I know France better than most French people do”, he says.

He is married to Edwige Olibet and they have four children aged 17, 15, 13 and 8 and live in a restored farmhouse near Nay in southwest France.

Saunders will be the subject of a documentary on French television in December.


Deirdre McQuillan

Deirdre McQuillan

Deirdre McQuillan is Irish Times Fashion Editor, a freelance feature writer and an author