Yesterday, the majestic Palais de Justice in Paris played a place of firsts. There, Clare Waight Keller’s presented her debut collection for Givenchy as the first woman couturier at the French house, as the venue hosts a fashion show for the first time.
Titled ‘Transformation Seduction’, Waight Keller’s collection steered away from her predecessor Tisci’s gothic tendencies, but paid homage to founder Hubert de Givenchy’s archives with an emphasis on shoulders alongside a couple of house prints, namely a 1961 clover motif and the animal patterns of 1981. In a monochromatic palette with red and midnight blue accents, pleat inserts lend romantic softness to printed dresses and solid-hue skirts, and graphic necklines give LBDs character. While not groundbreaking, it certainly looks salable: the new Givenchy girl will find sporty separates for a casual day out, tailored suits for the boardroom, and plenty of evening options when spring rolls around.
Demna Gvasalia, on the other hand, steered away from the archives at Balenciaga. “I wanted it to be more Demna, less Christóbal this time,” the designer said. “Something more vicious. Gothic, in a way.” Out came punk tartans, decorated tweed pencil skirts, peplum tops, lace-trimmed pullovers, plaid shirts, billowing dresses and joined garments, paired with graphic boots and spiky stilettos—a plethora of elements that usually won’t make sense together, but Gvasalia made it happen with his out-of-the-box streetwise touch. Yes, that even applies to the 10cm platform Crocs that accompanied the looks near the end.
“If there is anything to say at the moment, let it be love, and let it be joyful,” said Phoebe Philo after the show, and it reflected with finesse in her creations for Céline SS18. If anything, it would be difficult to find a look we didn’t love in the collection; from the opening looks of loosely tailored suits with looped-up trench coats and asymmetrical pleated skirts, to the fringed dresses and leather ponchos. Silhouettes, familiar or otherwise, were relaxed and billowy. Pleasant surprises came through in painterly details, leather farthingale on dresses and fully-sequinned maxis. It was brilliant with a sense of ease about it—we dare say that Philo just gave us the answer to timely and timeless fashion.
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