The Glass Wardrobe Files – we interview Carlos Erquiaga, owner of Old Céline Market

FAMED for designing 17 collections of some of the most revolutionary clothes for the fashion house Céline, British designer Phoebe Philo and her fabled tenure will forever be a significant moment of fashion history. Homing in on her vision of luxury, Philo came to shape the contemporary fashion landscape of the 2010s with a minimalist agenda.

When she departed from Céline in 2017 to focus on raising her three children, fans (otherwise known as Philophiles) were distraught. Shortly afterwards, Carlos Erquiaga came to the rescue and began his platform @oldcélinemarket.

Showcasing, selling and educating customers about some of the rarest runway pieces of Philo’s tenure, Erquiaga has garnered a prestigious reputation among her admirers.

Ranging from an exceptionally rare jumpsuit in black technical cotton faille from spring 2014, to a quilted ivory white lambskin dress from the Summer 2010 Collection, Céline’s first runway show under Phoebe Philo, @oldcélinemarket is a dedicated chronicle of Philo’s creative directorship.

Erquiaga buys not only for his many clients, but also for himself too, describing Philo’s designs as his “armour”. It is this transformative power that Philo yields that makes her upcoming return to the bubbling centre of fashion with the launch of her own brand, backed by LVMH, eagerly anticipated.

Theories as to whether her perspective has shifted for this new chapter continue to oscillate. For the time being, Erquiaga and @oldcélinemarket will remain devoted to Philo’s time at Céline.

Carlos Erquiaga, owner of Old Céline Market

FW15 Holster bag. One of the rarest Céline pieces, lucky to have it in white as well.


How did you begin your collection?
I had long been following Phoebe Philo’s work since my days at university, but I only started collecting just after she’d left Céline. Since then, I have been constantly discovering places that carry Céline, both online and off.

Why have you chosen to collect Phoebe Philo for Céline?
I find the pieces just make sense on so many levels, whether it comes to the fit, the fabric, the garment design, the longevity, or even the conceptual thinking behind the pieces, if you’re able to discern it. All these well-considered factors lend such great depth and value to the pieces.

Not to mention the fact that you feel inexplicably more confident when you put them on; they’re like armour in a way.

Can you tell our readers more about the purpose behind Old Céline Market?
It aims to bridge a gap in the demand created by Phoebe’s departure from Céline, by being a platform for sharing globally sourced pieces via a dedicated Instagram page, while hopefully serving as a mood board as well.

The imagery comes primarily from the lookbooks, runway shows, campaigns, and catalogues, for people to discover or revisit the pieces through the lens of Céline.

FW16 Reflective resin brooches. A demonstration of acute awareness of material properties in jewellery. Resort 18 Collarless jacket. Céline tailoring is always irreverent yet feminine,
the lapels on these are flipped inward to make it collarless


In your opinion, what made Phoebe Philo’s tenure at Céline so revolutionary?
It was her uncompromising vision of modern femininity, and her rigour for consistently articulating that into the smallest of details, be it through the product, the advertising, the retail experience, etc. This created a language of sorts that appealed to women (and some men too), yielding collections that were as commercially successful as they were critically acclaimed.

With the upcoming return of Phoebe Philo to the fashion line up, do you envisage your collection evolving to include her independent brand’s designs? What do you expect to see from her new fashion house?
There’s enough reason to believe there’ll be many stockists carrying her new brand’s pieces in the future, so for the time being, the page will remain devoted to chronicling Céline’s era under Phoebe’s creative directorship. Saying that, it will be interesting to see how the recent years have shifted her design perspective for her new brand, and how that will translate into the product.

Where do you source your old Céline pieces/artifacts? What is your process?
They come from all over the world. So far, I’ve personally sourced pieces from five continents. Many of these places have held their troves of Céline for quite a long time, many remain untouched. Part of the selection on the page also comes from private clients who have long been customers and collectors of Céline.

Which items tend to become your most treasured and why?
Definitely trousers – there’s always a novel reimagining for them each season. And as a guy who lives in the tropics, they’re the most pragmatic way to incorporate Céline into my wardrobe.

Resort 18 Map printed knit sweater. Your typical V-neck sweater, but with a silk foulard back
printed with a British War Office map from the ‘50s

SS15 Porcelain necklaces. These Limoges-made pendants appear as if culled from sculptures,
like found objects made into jewellery


Your descriptions of each item that you sell are very thorough, how important is it to determine the details on design?
Since everything is sold online, I think it’s necessary to provide people a sense of tactility to the pieces, and important to provide some context as to how or why a certain garment is important or well-made, for people to hopefully have an appreciation for it, regardless of whether they’ll buy it or not.

What is the demographic of your customers?
I’ve found most of the clientele are women in leadership roles who have a like-minded appreciation for art and fashion. Lawyers, gallerists, CEOs, designers, artists, etc. Surprisingly, there are also those who have worked at Céline in some capacity, including a few who’ve worked under Phoebe herself.

Credited for creating the ultimate #uglyshoe, are there any Phoebe Philo for Céline shoes that are impossible to find?
It’d be a close tie between the mink-covered pumps and the bejewelled fur-lined sandals, both from summer 2013. Both are idiosyncratic as they are iconic styles of Céline footwear.

In your opinion, what does our love affair with contemporary vintage fashion mean for the fashion industry at large?
Any kind of fashion, when put into a certain context, will be valuable and worth something to someone, to some extent.

What is the greatest opportunity your collecting has afforded you? What have been the high points?
Interacting with fellow Céline enthusiasts and learning more about the pieces first-hand from the people who have worked on them alongside Phoebe.


SS16 Perforated flats. These laser-cut leather flats inspired by traditional Balkan footwear
exhibit Phoebe’s directional yet compelling taste level

SS17 Pink dress. This iconic piece, the season’s final runway look, is absolute perfection
in draping and fashion design at its best

FW17 Tuxedo coat. One of Céline’s most timeless outerwear pieces that best embodies the brand’s ethos.


by Lily Rimmer

Carlos Erquiaga is at @oldcélinemarket.

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