There is buzz aplenty around Givenchy at the moment. After the unexpected reveal of Claire Waight Keller as the designer of Meghan Markle’s wedding dress, all eyes have been on the house. The wedding dress hinted of Hubert’s Givenchy; 'We wanted to create a timeless piece that would emphasise the iconic codes of Givenchy throughout its history, as well as convey modernity through sleek lines and sharp cuts,' said Waight Keller in the initial press release. That exact statement is still true for this collection, as it seems the atelier went into the archive for Markle and stayed there, finding silhouettes and structures to bring into the fore for haute couture A/W 18. Here, Waight Keller created a collection that celebrated Hubert and his many accomplishments, as well as bringing his traditional designs into the now.
There’s many a news piece on how Markle is looking to Audrey Hepburn from the Givenchy glory days as inspiration for not only her wedding dress - the neckline of which looked remarkably like Hepburn’s in Funny Face - but for her day-to-day too. Funny then, that this collection did the same. Hepburn-like evening gloves were seen peeking from pooling cape and her signature sweet pointed shoes came in sparkling glitter or black. Perhaps the most explicit Hepburn aesthetic was that of the final look. It was an adaptation of the infamous Breakfast at Tiffany’s little black dress, but here it had been given a dramatic and mysterious hood, taken to the floor, and rendered in velvet. It was a delightfully modern yet classical upgrade.
This battle with modern and house code was a constant throughout; the mirrored sheeny floors were brought up to the body with reflective stiff belts, statement cuffs, breastplates and headbands - a futuristic element amidst the decadent draping skirts and heavily feathered capes, trains and trim. Cigarette trousers, cinched waists and peek-a-boo moments were all a welcome pull into the now, whereas some elements - some glitters, sequins and shape - remained a little dated. All were a delight to watch in motion, images really won’t do justice to the fluidity and dance that came from such beautiful cuts and fabrications.
These motions, lacing the lavish gardens at the Archives Nationales, felt dramatic and glamorous. One felt a twinkle in the air, akin to a Hollywood set, or scene from Sabrina, as the clothes swished and swayed. There was a real energy to these garments that felt only possible in this finite moment. Breakfast at Tiffany’s Moon River began to play the models out, and while a little corny and sentimental, was a final sprinkling of remembrance and magic.