Joan Didion for Céline

Joan Didion for Céline

January 8, 2021


Let’s talk about Céline for a minute. Let’s reflect on Phoebe Philos artfully honed aesthetic.

You know the one, synonymous with an ideal that’s at once sensual, austere, controlled, and achingly, achingly cool.

Let’s discuss the facts: that Céline has become the label where all the season’s trends are born, where your chicest friend gets all of her wardrobe inspiration, where your favorite fashion editors save up to spring for statement pieces. (It’s so good it hurts, really.) And now let’s talk about Céline’s just-debuted ad campaign featuring French dancer Marie-Agnes Gillot, model Freya Lawrence, and none other than immortal intellectual-and-otherwise dream girl Joan Didion. Well, did you just feel the collective intake of breath shared by every cool girl you know? Did you feel the pulse-quickening vibrations of every recent college grad and literature fan? Did you sense the earth trembling beneath your feet? Do you have two eyes and a heart?


And come to think of it, of all the celebrity fashion campaign appearances, who better to represent Philo’s ideals—a certain ease of wear, simplicity of line, clothes that are assured, structured yet fluid, decidedly for the woman on the move—than Didion, the original chronicler of heartfelt experience, both her own and others’? One whose perpetually Tumblr’d and tweeted packing list famously includes “2 skirts, 2 jerseys or leotards [and] 1 pullover sweater,” (an ethos Philo, who proudly advertises her own reliance on a personal “uniform,” would clearly understand), who understood fashion while relying on clothes that didn’t draw attention as much as prepare her for the task at hand, and whose Julian Wasser–lensed portrait, peering from the driver’s seat of her own Corvette Stingray could just as easily stand in for Daria Werbowys recent turn under Tyrone Lebons lens. It’s worth noting that Didion’s and Philo’s silhouettes in those portraits—long, fluid knits—are the same.


Consider Céline spring 2015, which held all the right parts of the seventies, from A-line skirts to a vaguely New Age spirituality. Consider that Slouching Towards Bethlehem was published in 1968, The White Album in 1979. Consider that Joan Didion might be the ultimate Céline woman: brilliant, creative, vaguely recalcitrant. Consider that she may have been Philo’s muse all along. (The fact that she’s in sunglasses in the image—an item so iconic and closely connected to her that a couple pairs were awarded as prizes for her nephew Griffin Dunne’sKickstarter for a documentary based on her life—is all the better.) Somehow, doesn’t everything make a little more sense? Doesn’t that make everything a little bit better? Consider that Daria may be the supermodel here, but that we’ll be buying whatever Joan’s wearing.