Givenchy: Johnny Rotten meets the Virgin Queen
Clare Waight Keller must now be couture’s most potent image maker. Her latest collection inspired by the image of a bird caught inside a giant chateau was a tough poetic statement that confirmed her as a couturier of skill and importance.
Her title for the collection? "Noblesse Radicale," seen on a mood board that encompassed pierced posh punks; '70s Italian furniture; Johnny Rotten in tartan; medieval unicorns and oil paintings of Queen Elizabeth I.
Waight Keller presented the show with aplomb Tuesday night inside the soaring exhibition space of the museum of decorative arts within the Louvre: adding 25-meter-high curtains and giant dangling lights. The musical selections, like the clothes, were moody from Alexandre Desplat’s original soundtrack from The Tree of Life, to Philip Glass’s histrionic Dance VIII at the finale.
Half the looks suggested feathers and the more ruffled the better: zigzag emu's for an opening pencil skirt; a chicken’s coop-worth of crushed feathers for a flamenco dress; or a fantastic mannish coat – split vertically with swan’s plumage on one side; black raven on the other.
Her cast had a crazed-lady feel about them – enhanced by the Keith of Prodigy twisty, spiky hairdos; or massive broken wing hair extensions.
Add in a divine herringbone and houndstooth primitive wrap dress; and a couple of romantic crushed faille and graphic jacquard ball gowns and the UK designer garnered an impressive ovation at the finale.
In a co-ed show, Waight Keller’s guys were much more polished veteran rockers – in Bryan Ferry white double-breasted tuxedos; poets in paisley ruffled shirts; and a fantastic silver Maharajah jacket that must be worn to pick up a Grammy this winter.
“I wanted anarchist characters coming through with the hair and hats. This idea of a feathery bird that gets trapped in a house, and then finds all these different elements. And for the finale all these jacquards from The Tree of Life, coming from 17th and 18th century Indian textiles. Taking those patterns and weaving them into embroideries,” explained a highly assured Waight Keller.
In a word, a couturier very much in control of her atelier, collections, brand and maison – creating imaginative couture that, surely, would have made Hubert de Givenchy proud.
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