About this time last year, Clare Waight Keller was appointed as the Artistic Director of Givenchy. The first female at the helm, there was a lot riding on her shoulders, particularly given the current year we’ve had for women. Her most recent couture collection was met with great support, many cited it as Keller’s channelling of a modern woman. So, for A/W 18 - Waight Keller’s second ready-to-wear collection and the first foray into menswear for the designer, there was anticipation abound.
Three fabulously rich faux fur coats were the first looks out at the Palais de Justice, they managed to look both nouveau riche and elegant. A little Blade Runner in aesthetic, they were tightly belted at the waist to give a slightly eighties silhouette - one felt as though these characters were hiding something, you wouldn't want to meet them down a dark alley. Keller had cited film noir and eighties West Berlin as references and this came through best in the plastic trousers, the cinched waists, the off-teal mac, the slouchy boots, and the leopard print. Without wanting to offend, there were elements of gaudy tack here, which when offered from such a luxurious powerhouse as Givenchy, felt quite exciting and fresh.
The codes of the house weren’t lost amongst the Berlin brutalism; deep V dresses with oversized bows, dramatic fringing and high-neck sequined dresses felt very Academy Awards, and in the menswear, there was a scratchy striped coat, and more deep V-necks - most successful through the styling of a patterned blazer under a dramatic white coat. I must admit that the menswear was a little lost amongst the womenswear. If you take all the menswear looks and see them as a separate collection, I'm not confident they would feel as hard-hitting. You need those striking furs from the womenswear to carry the menswear through the beguiling theme of Night Noir. That’s not to say the menswear pieces weren’t inviting; the leather gilets, white piped shoes and that long-line white puffer jacket were marvellous.
This collection’s sordid extravagance is a smart move from Waight Keller, it’s lusty, likeable, elegant, intriguing and with just enough novelty to entice both old and new customer. It’s grit and glamour, it’s Waight Keller's Givenchy.