Givenchy: Nineties Brit rebels meet posh Parisians

It felt like the good old days at Givenchy, in the best sense of the term, as fashionistas gathered in the house’s historic headquarters on Avenue George V on a crisp winter Wednesday morning. This season, Givenchy’s creative director Clare Waight Keller opted for a personal presentation for her latest menswear collection, inviting small groups of a dozen editors, scribes and critics to see a tight collection of barely 20 looks.



 
A standalone collection and a pretty complete wardrobe, with large hints of femininity. All told, a meeting of the favorite era of Waight Keller, her clubbing days of the early '90s, and her contemporary experience, working in one of fashion’s most famous houses in central Paris.
 
The result was razor sharp suits cut with endless, slightly flared legs; as Waight Keller also injected elements of her women’s couture. Like her uber-rounded shapes for ladies transported into voluminous parkas and puffers for dandy dudes. Her fondness for shiny, nighttime fabrics seen in a fantastic spy-trench made of waxy leather that looked like cobalt. Or a fantastic New Romantic, Clongowes Wood College-purple redingote paired with a conceptual puffer waistcoat. 
 
In a word, the collection managed to riff on retro, while still being very contemporary.
 
 “One of the things I love about being here is the overarching feeling of being rooted in a French house in Paris. I  believe in Parisian couture, bringing women’s and men’s together. I’ve realized that the essence of this house, its roots are so Parisian,” said Waight Keller in a short address to our gang of a dozen, languid on a huge curving sofa inside the house’s substantial piano nobile, all-white Haussmann show space.



Sharp and graphic silhouettes in the suits and tuxedos; cummerbund details paired with sweats; turquoise rock stud suiting; hyper sized town-coats with big, big buttons; poetic white silk shirts worthy of Shelly. Feminine yet tough menswear on a cast with tousled hair.
 
“I believe in tailoring; and thinking back to the early '90s when I found old tailoring pieces, and then cross-fertilizing the ideas I work on in women into menswear. Mixing different elements together to give character. But still bringing it to a very elevated level. The idea is to look a bit posh but not really care about it!” laughed Waight Keller, surely the most relaxed couturier Paris has witnessed in eons.

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