Paris Haute Couture: Givenchy’s Take on Grandeur

While the show reimagined the threads of a gilded past in 2019, there was a surprising radical edge too.

They may have been seated in the Musée des Arts Decoratifs, housed in the west wing of the Louvre, but guests like Rachel Zoe were made to feel like they were on an imaginary journey through villas, chateaux and stately homes. That’s thanks to the models parading down the understated filigree-patterned runway in silhouettes that were a subtle wink to the birthplaces of the grand tradition of haute couture.

Givenchy’s autumn/winter 2019 haute couture collection was a tapestry of romance and antiquity. However, all that unsurpassed majesty was streaked with a touch of rebellion and punk, invoking the notion of Noblesse Radicale. And never one to rest on her laurels, Creative Director Clare Waight Keller mixed traditional Givenchy haute couture with new textures and volumes.

The show’s notes referenced Richard Avendon’s ‘swans,’ the ultra-elegant socialites and high society women the renowned photographer captured in the 1950s and 60s. And plumage definitely took centre stage as many pieces were embellished with delicate fluttering feathers, with Kaia Gerber’s look taking frou-frou to the next level.

With embellishment and head-to-to heirloom finery ruling, impressions of the past melted into modern contrasts of tailleur and deconstructed eveningwear. As well as flowering wallpapers, rich upholstery and heraldic silverware, we saw shredded hound’s tooth and dégradé tweed. The grey-scale colour palette was infused with warm colours like petrol and Prussian blue, soft shades of flamingo pink, periwinkle, jade and straw.

Given sculpted round shoulders and hourglass waists, blazers and coats resembled riding capes or tuxedo hybrids and came in grain de poudre wool, silk satin and double-face cashmere. Unfurling leaves, petals and palampore motifs were woven through monochrome jacquards and adorned with precious beading.

Their chintz and chrysanthemum blooms appearing on swathes of draped taffeta, dazzling sheaths of tonal sequins and crèpe flecked with sprays of marabou. Additionally, flyaway ribbons cinched parachute shapes layered over dropped crinolines and pleated tulle skirts, as fitted bodices fell into iridescent lace pleating or fountains of fringe. 

The footwear included classic pointed pumps and booties, which were finished in jewel-toned transparence. Meanwhile, sandals were outlined with crystal vines. Other grandeur-inspired accessories included crested mohawks, seed pearl chandelier earrings, palladium crowns with curling 3D petals and peacock combs.

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