Paris Fashion Week 2014: At Celine, make way for a new romance

PARIS -- She's done minimalist sportswear, abstract art prints, slip-on skate sneakers and Birkenstock comfort sandals. And the world followed. But on Sunday at Paris Fashion Week, Celine designer Phoebe Philo moved on to a look that's more feminine, romantic and dressed up. 

In other words, goodbye tomboy for now.
A long, lean, languid silhouette. Sweater dressing. Flared pants. They're all ideas that have been percolating on the runways this season. But it took Philo, fashion's great prognosticator, to crystallize them into the kind of collection that will move fashion forward, and make you look at everything you have seen for fall 2014 until now, in a different way.
Philo took us to the garden, with a leafy backdrop for a set. And her collection felt soft and organic, from the flower-printed coats, to the sculptural blossoms on lapels.
Soft filaments added texture to the final looks, like the soft hairs on a caterpillar.
There was a through line from Marc Jacobs' collection in New York, where the serene neutral colors, elongated silhouettes and organic forms brought to mind cloud and flower paintings by Georgia O'Keeffe.
But at Celine, the look was more down to earth and citified. You could picture a woman going places in many of these looks, such as a muddy green ribbed sweater dress, layered over a flared skirt, and blue gingham shirt.
The stars of the show were the coats, hugging the waist and flaring at the bottom, or oversized with raglan sleeves slipping off the shoulders.  

Knits were another focus, more elegant than slouchy. Take the mushroom-colored, soft knit jacket, its collar flopping open to reveal a bare shoulder, and worn with wide leg gray trousers.

A camel wrap skirt and blue gingham sweater was another compelling look for everyday. (Copies will be coming to stores near you.) 

When it came to accessories, it was all about softness, too. Gone were Celine's structured totes and color-blocked trapeze bags, replaced instead with squishy styles. The models who didn't have bags gripped colorful fur mufflers in their hands. 

And in the fall, it won't be sneakers but winter wedge sandals that will keep Philo's flowering new romantics firmly planted.