Adam and Eve are hardly heralded as reference for designers (which might be because they didn’t wear any clothes). Yet Clare Waight Keller managed to find a way to weave that pair of original sinners into her latest collection for Givenchy, which centred on the theme of a walk through the Garden of Eden in winter. Hence why toffee apples were served as guests entered the 175-metre tent in the Jardin des Plantes. The transparent ceiling meant that bare trees overshadowed the catwalk, which was strobe-lit through a haze of smoke to thumping techno music.
As for the clothes, the circular shoulders on the nipped-in tailoring were the latest addition to the season’s trend for dramatically emphasised shoulders. Tailoring stole the show, with abbreviated jackets and belted Japanese herringbone coats belted at the waist and, again, broadened at the shoulders. Why shoulders, why now? It may be that the air of the 80s has become fragrant for the designers once again — it was after all, another era of extremes — and it seems as though the master of the exaggerated shoulder, Claude Montana, has come back into the frame as the spirit animal for this season’s shows.
Though Waight Keller did balance out that hardness with something softer. Micro-plissé dresses were printed with Japanese cloisonné blossoms, and fishing wire gave the necks, cuffs and hems on them a bouncing flamenco swirliness. Ballooned taffeta sleeves were accoutrements to a couple of cocktail numbers later in the show. Although Givenchy has now started showing its menswear separately, there were also a few boys in sharp suits and double-breasted coats.
Not long ago, Givenchy was associated with the singular image of one iconic woman: Audrey Hepburn, the lifelong client and muse of Hubert de Givenchy. But these days, it’s Meghan Markle who is the house’s pin-up since her wedding (and The Fashion Awards) last year. It’s still unclear where Waight Keller is taking Givenchy’s ready-to-wear–— her couture, on the other hand, is a clear red carpet winner. Rachel Weisz in red latex at the Oscars didn’t win the award, but her dress certainly did.
Perhaps as an indication of where fashion designers — and luxury brands — are at right now is that this collection ran the gamut of wardrobe propositions. It would be difficult to put your finger on one look, to caption this show with a singular statement. The days of singular-narrative collections are over, and increasingly designers must offer full wardrobes for customers that are all over the world in diverse climates and cultures. So although this show was all about Adam and Eve, it was really about offering as many options as possible — and it seems that winter walk finished somewhere east of Eden.