On a rainy, dreary Sunday morning in Paris, Clare Waight Keller presented her first fall collection for Givenchy at the stunningly imposing Palais de Justice, the same venue in which she made her official debut for the French house last October for Spring 2018.
Because of the thick clouds, the historic, column-lined courthouse didnt get much light peeking through, but the darkness fit the mood of show impeccably, as the designer was inspired by the “grit and glamour” that emerges after dark, naming the Fall 2018 offering “Night Noir.”
“Sharp-edged silhouettes cut through city streets, their shadows casting stark contours in metallic urban lights,” Waight Keller wrote in the show notes. She looked to the classic film noir genre — which is not only stylish but also steeped in stories of crime, mystery and betrayal — to give both the womenswear and menswear an alluring hint of danger. In other words: These are not the types who youd want to mess with on a dimly lit corner or train platform late at night.
To a soundtrack of synthesized techno with the occasional familiar noise of a subway car screeching by, the first models emerged in oversize fur coats (which, according to Cathy Horyn, were all faux) nipped in at the waists with tied leather belts, setting the stage for the parade of strong silhouettes that followed. Tailored, utilitarian pieces were done up in slick leather, including a long vest, a belted shirtdress, a tank top, skirts and loose-fitting trousers, mixing toughness with easy femininity.
There was plenty of outerwear and suiting worthy of a femme fatale — including a shiny black croc-embossed trench coat and a sharp-shouldered, menswear-style overcoat worn over wide-leg pants — as well as nods to Hubert de Givenchys love for animal print in the form of a zebra-striped sweater and a long leopard coat, complete with a leather belt accented with a mini square-shaped bag.
In contrast, there were fluid, silk patterned dresses that seemed more appropriate for daytime wear, though the lacy, lingerie-style frocks upped the sex appeal. “Slithering dresses, shiny and louche,” as Waight Keller described them, closed the show, with both studded and sequined long-sleeved column gowns that flickered and flashed under the runway lights. Swishing fringes and large bows adorned both dresses and suiting pieces — like a very deep-V white blouse paired with black pants — for the woman who prefers a tuxedo for formal affairs. The three metallic, pleated finale frocks, which played upon styles presented in Givenchys Spring 2018 couture collection in January, were bouncy, structural and made quite the statement. Good thing the strong, fearless woman who inspired this collection is not known for being faint of heart.