French luxury fashion house Céline was founded in 1945 by Céline Vipiana as a children's made-to-measure shoe business. Later the brand expanded into women's shoes, handbags and ready-to-wear in the Sixties, with the rubric of creating couture sportswear - "fashion for everyone". Céline became the first luxury brand to hit the Japanese market.
Under Céline Vipiana, the brand became known for its practical, wearable separates, like trenches, swing skirts and blouses. In 1997, when Céline, by now part of the LVMH Group, brought in Michael Kors as creative director. Kors brought the label to fashion's forefront, dressing Rene Russo's character in The Thomas Crown Affair, Gwyneth Paltrow in Possession and creating bestselling accessories for the label like the 2002 "boogie bag."
After Kors' exit from Céline in 2004, unremarkable stints from designers Roberto Menichetti and Ivana Omazic followed before the label appointed ex-Chloé designer Phoebe Philo. Philo's cool, clean minimalism resonates with fashion editors and working women alike, and in 2010 Philo won Designer of the Year from the British Fashion Council. In addition to creating covetable accessories like handbags, totes (like the popular "luggage" bag), wallets and shoes, Philo ensures the brand is once again the go-to label for wearable, covetable separates.
By Brogan Driscoll & Jen Barton