3rd October 2019

PFW – Givenchy S/S2020

Givenchy brings two worlds to one catwalk at PFW

English born creative director Clare Waight Keller took us on a journey of the duality of the lives we all live with her new summer 2020 collection for Givenchy at Paris Fashion Week.   Keller’s career has been a mix of these dualities over the years – wearing one hat at Gucci and then a completely different one while working as artistic director for Pringle.  Then it was another hat at Chloé before being appointed with the grand title of ‘artistic director of haute couture and RTW for men and women’ at Givenchy.   It’s from those wide-ranging experiences she drew on to create a collection that’s set to work for every fashionable modern woman and for every part of the day.

At one end of the spectrum we had the plain sophistication of the tan leather sleeveless top – softened with a large bow detail at the neck – teamed with a wonderfully light, long, comfortable looking, drawstring summer skirt in a matching colour.  At the other end we were treated to stand-out floor length floral dresses with intricate designs and featuring sumptuous colours.  The journey from one end to the other turned out to be just as satisfying and rewarding as the start and end points.

The press release characterised the theme of the whole collection as ‘the blossoms of old-world Paris to the spirit of New York City’ and, as such, it became easy to see which outfit leaned towards one era or the other.

For example, the sleek sleeveless tan leather, double-breasted trench coats screamed ‘modern city elegance’.  Additionally, the tailoring was clean and sharp – like the monochrome, houndstooth, single-breasted suits that came with shorts, instead of trousers, and didn’t come with lapels.  Sometimes the exquisite tailoring was dressed down (beautiful double-breasted, one button, lapel-less jackets teamed with casual distressed jeans) or it stood on it’s own merits (the mauve blouse/skirt dress worn with cream boots worked fantastically well).

The colours were especially eye-catching in the collection.  While they were bold and striking they weren’t as garish or as shocking as some of the summer palettes on other catwalks.  The British racing green of the leather trench coat tied around the waist was warm and rich, particularly when coupled with a sleeveless soft leather top in a similar colour.  The deep purple, long-sleeved dress with the button hook fastenings seemed to announce its desirability from afar, while distressed blue denim was used to break up the serious of a number of different ensembles.

The highlights of the collection spoke for themselves.  The variety in designs and colours for the floral dresses, tops, over-skirts and jumpsuits took the breath away more and more with each passing example, particularly because for the dresses and tops these were not just flat patterns on fabric.  Here, each floral presentation was a 3D creation incorporated into the construction of the fabric that almost made you think there was actually a bouquet to sample as the outfits floated by.  Suddenly ‘old-world Paris’ came into full focus and the romance of the collection gently washed over you.  Even when it came to the off-the-shoulder jumpsuits and over skirts the silhouettes were still reminiscent of beautiful floral shapes.

For a collection oscillating between two distinct scenarios – exemplified by a distinctly two-tone, double-breasted denim dress – it was a great testament to Keller’s talent and ingenuity to see how it all came together as one coherent, desirable narrative for Givenchy’s 202o summer.


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