In a rather prim and proper season – with little flesh on display on the catwalks of Western Europe – this Fall 2019 Givenchy collection looked very in sync with the current mood.
A blend of tough chic and floral Japanese fantasy in a show that captured all of the skills and strengths of Givenchy designer Clare Waight Keller.
She took her bow, appearing out of an intense cloud of dry ice after a sound track of driving techno and dance music, climaxing with Daft Punk’s “Revolution 909.” Yet her backstage cabin was crammed with precious flowers.
Waight Keller’s inspirations were famous 90s beauties like Jasmine Guinness and Honor Fraser, and their novel takes on fashion.
“I mean those girls who came from aristocratic worlds and began mixing that chic sensibility with a more urban feel,” explained Waight Keller, before being embraced by Rosamund Pike and Lewis Hamilton.
Her two key ideas were tailoring and gardens. She cut long coats and pant suit jackets with exaggerated shoulders, either curvy with rounded lapels, or large and pagoda like; the effect heightened by raised seams and finished mostly with a big nonchalant belt. All made in mannish Prince of Wales check or caramel cashmeres.
Plus she sent out a good dozen silk plissé dresses with ruffled hems and cuffs, often in beautiful hyper real Japanese springtime florals, actually taken from vases. They were elegant, unexpected yet also rather proper – for properly brought-up gals looking to be a little arty, but not too much.
Her finale was her best moment, debutante-worthy dresses, though in nylon not taffeta, ever so deconstructed to look contemporary and rather cool.
Staged inside the Jardin des Plantes, in a 100-meter-long tent with a transparent ceiling, the better to see a long stand of plane tress outside, their branches twisting on a windy night, complimenting the floral fantasies of the fabrics.
Givenchy gals also marched with their dates in a co-ed show – posh rockers in python-print silk shirts, patent leather pants and white redingotes; or art school graduates in turquoise suits.
All told, a polished performance by a designer very much in control of her studio and atelier, albeit several points off her A game, compared to her stellar couture show last month.
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