Givenchy Couture: Moon River in the Marais
No fashion house is as indelibly linked to a Hollywood legend as Givenchy is to Audrey Hepburn, the leitmotif of a hyper refined collection presented Sunday night in Paris by the marque’s creative director Clare Waight Keller.
“Audrey is so much part of Givenchy, that she touches nearly everything,” said Waight Keller, who gave all guests a polished program with portraits of and sketches by Hubert, alongside images of great looks by the legendary designer, who passed on March 10 of this year.
“He told me to be strong, he believed in elegance and he believed in chic. And I felt I had to be very respectful to this vision of a woman in this collection,” added Waight Keller, who met with de Givenchy shortly before his death.
A clean expression of fashion purity from the silver faille skirts and slim-line redingote capes to the feathered romantic bubble capes and fabulous tulip neck dresses held together with a bold leather belt at the neckline.
Waight Keller is clearly in full command of her atelier; notable in the remarkable layered cock feather dresses, done in degrade colors. In a sporting gesture, the British-born designer took her bow accompanied by a dozen members of her atelier, respecting an old tradition of Hubert.
Of course, the thing about Hepburn is that even though she turned up for her first fitting with Hubert as an ingénue actress, and the designer expected her to be Katherine Hepburn and not an unknown Audrey. She went onto to be the coolest of Indie Grand Dames, which is what this collection captured. There was none of the stiffness one associates with Ladies who Lunch, and all the easy elegance that always characterized Audrey.
For the finale, the speakers swelled with Henry Mancini's Moon River, the title song to Breakfast at Tiffany's, where Givenchy dressed Hepburn in her most famous role as Holly Golightly.
In a co-ed show, Waight Keller accompanied her modernist ladies with some dandy rockers – most of them in redingotes of anthracite wool and shiny sequins. A strong shoulder silhouette that was also worn by the female models. All of them proudly marching on the giant mirrored catwalk inside the Archives Nationales, deep in the Marais.
“When I really went deep into the archives I realized Hubert had this fantastic shoulder, that gives a great masculine touch. It’s part of the language that I am developing,” smiled Waight Keller.
The show marked the first Givenchy runway event since Waight Keller had struck the fashion homerun of the year by dressing Meghan Markle to her wedding with Prince Harry.
Traditionally the opening show of the Paris couture had been Atelier Versace, ever since the glory days when Gianni reinvented haute couture, banishing Ladies Who Lunch and welcoming with open arms Madonna and Prince to his front-row.
Today it is very much Givenchy, notwithstanding the fact that Miu Miu, Sonia Rykiel, Hermès and Vetements came before Waight Keller, in this weekend of fashion events. However, Givenchy was the show that Paris needed to ignite the couture season.
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