Being direct in the way she dresses, Philo says, even shapes her standards of beauty. The models she chose here, for instance, are determined in their engagement with the camera. She talks about her own determination “to do the thing that’s right for me, for Céline, and for women.” As passionate as those words sound, they’re delivered in a quiet, measured tone that hints at the inner steel that has allowed Philo to achieve so much at the relatively young age of 37. There is, however, one last point to mull over. When asked with what image she would pair the serious, slightly forbidding portrait of herself that opens this story, Philo selects a surreal photo of pink flamingos in the snow. They’re clearly hardy birds, but there is also something quintessentially fragile about them. Philo, it would seem, keeps her secrets after all.
From left: Céline’s wool dress with leather panels from fall 2011. Céline’s cashmere and polyester sweater from fall 2011 and cotton poplin shirt from prefall 2011.