Style & Grooming

Clare Waight Keller Makes Her Givenchy Debut

The designer presents her interpretation of the label, which riffed on musical subcultures

  • TextTed Stansfield

It’s funny that the political unrest of 2016 seemed to coincide with shifts of power in the upper echelons of the fashion industry. Creative directors of major brands – such as Calvin Klein, Christian Dior, Lanvin and Saint Laurent – moved around; something that continued into 2017, namely with the departure of Riccardo Tisci from Givenchy (after 12 years in the role) and the appointment of Clare Waight Keller (formerly of Chloé) in his place. Following her appointment, two questions arose: first, what her vision for Hubert de Givenchy’s namesake house would look like; and second, what her menswear would look like, given that she’s spent the last six years focussed on women’s.

Yesterday morning, at the tailend of Paris Fashion Week, we got answers to those questions. Staged at the Palais de Justice, the show notes spoke of newness – “Fashion is a tool for self metamorphosis,” they read. “It can transform the spirit through a new attitude, for new beginnings.” The show itself was titled Transformation Seduction and, from the looks that followed, you could see that the emphasis was on seduction.

The womenswear represented a marriage of the femininity Waight Keller had honed at Chloé, with a sense of dark romanticism and sensuality that we’ve come to associate with Givenchy. The designer also pulled several tropes out of the house’s archive, such as a clover motif from 1961 and an animal pattern from 1981, as well as reintroducing its quadruple-G logo.

As for the menswear, Waight Keller said that she was imagining the Givenchy woman’s other half, quite literally – “Behind transformation seduction is a couple,” she explained in the show notes, “they represent my vision of modern togetherness.” Sharing the dark romanticism of the women’s looks, the men’s echewed the streetwear-inspired silhouettes of her predecessor. Instead, they were skinnier and more glam with Teddy Boy-esque tailoring cut from printed cloth; sleeveless leather jackets, slick double-breasted blazers and unbuttoned silk shirts. Welcome to the new era of Givenchy.