These three looks come from a show at Paris fashion week in October of 2009. Two years, four full seasons and countless collections ago. Since then, fashion has been throwing up trends left, right and centre - from peaked shoulders and body-limning dresses to colour blocking and wide and flowing silhouettes reminiscent of '70s bohemia. There has been little in the way of constants, of fashion that stands still. Fashion that ignores trends, ignores the constraints of an industry and its so-called tastemakers. These three looks are by a label that here, in September of 2011, needs little in the way of introduction. A label that four seasons ago was known largely only by international fashion editors and bourgeois Parisiennes, just another name in the dusty stables of LVMH, hidden behind shining cash cows like Vuitton, Marc Jacobs, Dior.
Fast-forward two years, and elements of these three looks (if not the looks in their entirety) are still completely relevant. Two years may not seem like all that long, but in the world of fashion - where in-between collections like resort and pre-fall are increasingly dotted amongst mainline spring and fall seasons, demanding more and more variety - it is a minor eternity. A simple leather tee, tucked into an a-line canvas skirt, a streamlined leather dress that both hugs and skims the body in equal proportion. Wide-leg, high-waisted pants that simultaneously manage to avoid the ridiculousness that the notion of high waists and a wide legs provokes. These all quite simple, classic pieces of clothing. The beauty is there in the details, in the refinement and ease of it all - the roundness of a collar, the length of a hem or the cut of a trouser. Clothes that have appeared to inspire many slightly different (and not so different) incarnations on other runways in these two years following. For what is so special about these clothes, these three pieces of clothing, is that they were modern back then, and they are still modern now. Put simply, they are clothes that women can wear, and then get on with their lives.
The label is Céline, and the woman is Phoebe Philo.