Clare Waight Keller’s Givenchy Debut Perfectly Preserves Hubert de Givenchy's Legacy
When newly taking the helm of a storied fashion house, there are two ways in which a designer can approach this daunting task. The first is to start anew, and project a brand-new vision for the brand, a feat that former Givenchy creative director Riccardo Tisci managed to pull off with aplomb. The second is to delve into the brand's past and bring forth the rich history of the house, making the past new again, which is what freshly minted creative director Claire Waight Keller has done.
Gathering inspiration from the archives of Hubert de Givenchy, she placed emphasis on the shoulder and created bold shapes in wool mohair tailoring, sculpted organza dresses and organdie shirts for the womenswear. The dramatic shoulder continued with lantern or puff sleeve blouses worn with shirt collars and a plunging V-shaped décolleté paired with tapered trousers in moiré silk, biker leather, or marble denim, all further emphasising this silhouette. The menswear collection received similar treatment, with double-breasted military coats, blazers that define a sharp silhouette and boyish teddy jackets.
(Related: 8 Of Hubert de Givenchy's Most Iconic Looks)
Hubert’s love of prints was also another celebrated feature, with a plethora of patterns making their way into the collection. From tiger stripes and lightning bolts to degrade spots contrasting with fabrications like pinstripes, rugby striped knits, Vichy checks, hound’s tooth and thorn jacquard, they are prominent in both the men’s and women’s collections.
For evening wear, Waight Keller chose to pay homage to the mid-century, with satin bow details, cape shape cocktail dresses and new plays on the ‘Sabrina’ dress in monochrome lace-encrusted pleating sculpted in ruffles and tiers. Men’s tuxedos are cut in lamé, embroidered velvet, or jacquard with a beaded lapel.
Waight Keller’s true talent lies in accessories and this is evident in the first design in her new bag line for Givenchy, aptly named the GV3, after the house’s historic address on Avenue George V, number 3.
Just like the clothes in the spring/summer 2018 runway collection, the GV3 embodies the special duality that has always run through Givenchy—polished yet practical, chic yet casual, respectful of the past yet attuned to modern life. In keeping up with the spirit of that, the GV3 has a complex three-compartment accordion structure that maximises capacity while minimising volume.
The bag features a magnetic “kissing” clasp with a lift-up mechanism that enables quick, single-handed closure, and its chain straps is a nod to the men’s traditional pocket watch chain and women’s jewellery. The GV3 is also versatile; an added leather strap offering the user four styles of wear—on the arm, shoulder, cross-body or as an evening clutch. And for customers who purchase the nano version, the bag can also be worn a fifth way as a belt as seen in Waight Keller’s runway debut.