- Text Alex James Taylor
- Photography Sara Cimino
- 1st October 2018
Reflect and readdress
In her third collection for the French house, the codes between Clare Waight Keller’s Givenchy couple were far more blurred. “Manifesting the notion of the Givenchy couple, the designer mirrors female and male in each other and cross-pollinates their gender characteristics”, read the show notes. “It allows for properties conventionally comprehended as female or male to morph in a nonchalant approach to gender codes, reflective of an evolved global mentality.”
This mood was reflected in the opening looks, featuring models – men and women – with near-identical cropped haircuts (a bit Audrey Hepburn, some might say). Have a Google of Waight Keller’s SS19 muse, Annemarie Schwarzenbach, and you’ll see where this aesthetic stems from: a journalist, photographer, and intrepid traveler, Schwarzenbach began dressing and acting as a boy from an early age and continued to reject the constraints of traditional gender norms throughout her life. Here, the Givenchy designer placed Schwarzenbach’s story in conversation with similar reference points including Lou Reed and Nico’s own gender-blurring relationship two decades further down the line.
Elegant sophistication was Waight Keller’s core basis. Girls appeared in loose silk shirts buttoned up and tucked into high-waisted, belted trousers, trenchcoats were cropped at the chest, and beige suiting was tuxedo in the top half and utilitarian explorer from the waist down. Meanwhile, boys wore matching safari shades, mod suiting, 70s pointed boots (a constantly exceptional piece throughout Waight Keller’s Givenchy tenure), and leather jackets with sliced off sleeves.
The show was drawn to a close with a series of shimmering evening pieces including silver suiting, glittery capes and pleated floor-length gowns that shimmered like body armour in the light.
In the current conversation regarding female rights and empowerment, an idea of needing balance underlines the discussion. Here, through a collection titled, I Am Your Mirror, Waight Keller reflected an equilibrium she believes in through the medium she knows best: immaculately designed clothes.