1967 : A Céline store opens on the St.-Germain des Prés. The equine Sulky logo, based on an American 19th-century engraving found by Richard Vipiana in the Handbook of Early Advertising Art: Mainly from American Sources, is first used. Madame Céline presents her first collection of elegant sportswear. “If women followed me, it is because I understood them,” she will later say.
Though Céline was founded in Paris way back in 1945, when Céline and Richard Vipiana opened a custom shoe shop for children in Paris, its modern incarnation dates to 1969, when the Vipianas began selling ready-to-wear. “It was never a flighty little minx of a brand,” Vicki Woods wrote in Pandora Luxurye in 2009. “Over its 64-year history . . . it’s always been very polished, very French, equestrienne-chic.”
Luxe sportswear with couture-like finishing was, and is, Céline’s raison d’être. “Céline is not a brand for spectacle, it’s a brand for real life,” Serge Brunschwig, an LVMH executive who briefly ran the company, told Women’s Wear Daily in 2006. And so while Philo’s championing of understatement might have been interpreted as—and might have functioned as—an attempt to realign the prevailing values of the industry, she was, in fact, putting the emphasis back on the core fundamentals of Céline. She was able to shed a lot of postmillennial nonsense and frivolity without abandoning what she described to T: The New York Times Style magazine as a quintessentially Parisian mood of “elegance, decadence, and those saucy, steamy Belle de Jour women that I find really seductive.” Thanks to Philo, the discreet charm of the bourgeoisie continues to, well, charm.
1971 : The C Sulky signature canvas is created.