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Is Phoebe Philo exiting Céline?

Paris Fashion Week has barely ended but the rumour mill surrounding one of its best-loved designers is gaining headlines across the world.

The rumour this time concerns Céline and its star designer Phoebe Philo, who according to the Business of Fashion is making plans for a successor should the English creative call it a day.

“The interviews have been going on for a few months now,” the Business of Fashion published on Monday, alluding to preparation for Philo to be replaced. Yet when Céline was asked for comment, the opposite was confirmed: “We categorically deny any imminent departure of Phoebe Philo from Céline,” a spokesman for LVMH said.

Why the speculation?

Unnamed sources are saying Philo is leaving at the end of 2017, nearly 10 years after joining the brand in 2008. Céline is one of LVMH’s most successful companies, largely attributed to the turnaround actdioned by Philo, who’s aesthetic made it a must-have, season after season, and boosting its earnings for 200m euros per year to 700m euros.

Céline, of course, is not adverse to change. After years of eschewing the internet and e-commerce, the brand is finally thought to be embracing the digital realm and launching e-com later this year. This is in part due to the new chief executive Severine Merle, who replaced Marco Gobbetti, who left the brand to join Burberry in April.

According to the Business of Fashion, Philo has stayed in her role much longer than the average creative director, with nearly ten years under her belt. While Céline remains one of the stalwart brands of Paris, it’s growth rate has slowed, a prompt perhaps for Philo to consider new opportunities.

Photo credit: Phoebe Philo, courtesy of Celine