Givenchy A/W 2018

Givenchy A/W 2018

Clare Waight Keller presents a collection of irresistible Forties glamour

Scene setting: It was a chilly, rainy morning at the Palais de Justice, the imposing courtroom building in the Île de la Cité where Givenchy has been showing its collections since Clare Waight Keller took the reins last season. Guests made their way towards the venue through long, cavernous corridors, sipping coffee and nibbling on madeleines (the best possible present we could hope for at 10am on a Sunday) to find a room arranged as an organic-shaped labyrinth dressed with velvet curtains in powdery tones. The lights were dim, the atmosphere ominous. It was quite the Lynchian landscape. And there was a reason for it.

Mood board: ‘Night Noir’ was the show’s title. Waight Keller was inspired, as the notes explained, both by the sophisticated and seedy aesthetics of classic Hollywood film noir and her own memories of Berlin. The result of that eclectic but somewhat logical mix fell somewhere between Joan Crawford’s Mildred Pierce (1945) and the decadence of Weimar Germany. The silhouette was sharp, sophisticated and thoroughly grown-up (Waight Keller knows very well who her Givenchy client), taking cues from both the powerful shoulder lines and masculine-feminine duality of the Forties and the coldness and boxy shapes of the Eighties. Particularly so for the menswear, which veered away from the very skinny — and very Slimanesque — rock ‘n’ roll vibes from last season.

Best in show: It was all about the chubby (fake) fur coat at the beginning, a shrewd, trend-savvy move from Waight Keller, especially given the amount of synthetic voluminous coats we’ve seen on the catwalks so far this season. But it was the tail end of the show which truly caught our attention: a series of evening looks including variations on the tuxedo (a cream sleeveless shirt with a fringe detail looked particularly irresistible), silver sequined dresses, overblown taffeta bows and a profusion of flapper fringes in shirts and skirts. It was as if Waight Keller was designing the costumes for a black-and-white Hollywood film. It became her, and it was there that she best managed the delicate balance between Hubert de Givenchy and Riccardo Tisci’s heritage and her own personal aesthetic.

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