GIVENCHY HAUTE COUTURE SS19

For her third couture collection as the creative director of the House of Givenchy, Clare Waight Keller who made a name for herself at the helm of Chloé long before winning global -and royal- acclaim for the creation of the sumptuous wedding gown of the Duchess of Sussex, takes us to Museum of Modern Art in Paris. 

The Museum of Modern Art, located in the 16th arrondissement of Paris, is next to the Palais de Tokyo and overlooks the Seine and the Eiffel Tower.  For Clare Waight Keller the modern set of this place served as a “white box”.  “After last season’s Haute Couture collection, I wanted a clean slate: a blank canvas”, says the artistic director at Vogue.  “It serves as the ultimate contrast to the saturated primary colors that define the collection while echoing the brilliant surfaces I introduce this season.” 

The show of the Givenchy Haute Couture Spring-Summer 2019 collection, entitled Bleached Canvas, opened with model Adut Akech Bior from South Sudan wearing a black sculpted jacket with one white collar and shining, stretch Latex trousers, walking down the white lacquered stage to the sound of the emotional aria “Vissi d’arte” from “Tosca”.

And while latex is the least expected material to be used for haute couture, the designer chose it “for its strength and sensuality”. “It is literally a bespoke fabric with that second-skin feeling and super modern, super shiny and with incredible color,” she says. “I don’t think of latex as perverse,” she continues, “But there is something about it that is so opulent, so beautiful. The contrast brings something really dynamic and very modern, sleek and slick. It is very fresh.” 

Givenchy Couture SS19 PFW - Jan19
Givenchy Couture SS19 PFW | Details

Fusing the gentle femininity of long flowing gowns with the pleasing precision of the perfectly cut tuxedo jacket, it forged new ground for a youthful Givenchy customer looking for an ensemble that defines contemporary elegance.

Backstage Waight Keller spoke of architectural shapes, pure lines and a quest for couture that is “truly exquisite” among her sources of inspiration. But it is the idea of contradiction; the juxtaposition between toughness and fragility, lightness and dark and clean cuts and volume that is the beating heart of her vision for Givenchy.  “It’s all about contrasts, about shape, about beauty, about craftsmanship,” she confirmed. “That’s the direction I want to take this house in. Everything I do comes back to that.”

Givenchy Haute Couture SS19 | Collection
Givenchy Couture SS19

Highlights came thick and fast in this show but, arguably, the real beauty was to be found in the details. From a rucksack embedded in a vast bow at the back of an ethereal evening dress to the eye mask effect painted with make-up to the beaded cloche-style hairnet that is quite a fashion story this season. 

With her latest couture showcase, a precise offering of architectural silhouettes and mastered tailoring Clare Waight Keller proved that she remains true to her disciplined approach to her signature aesthetic and cemented her position among a new guard of designers bringing a much-needed sense of modernity to the Paris schedule. 

Givenchy Haute Couture SS19