The Feline Dress by Givenchy for Spring/Summer 2018

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Fresh out of Chloé, Clare Waight Keller is making a remarkable entry into Givenchy. Since last May, the British designer spent time diving into the brand’s archives. Her research brought her to Jonchet, an 18th century chateau located in the Loire valley – Count Hubert de Givenchy himself hosted her there. “He was so chic, so grand,” tells Waight Keller. This artist at the origin of actress Audrey Hepburn’s timeless elegance seems to have inspired the designer. “I was less interested by the clothing than by his sketches. If you look at his sketches, they’re expressive, so dynamic and so spontaneous. And if you look it the clothing, it’s something else. I wanted to go back on this expression.”

This rendezvous took place on Île de la Cité, at the heart of Paris’ Palais de Justice. Key elements in Givenchy’s vocabulary were exhumed for this new Spring/Summer 2018 collection, such as tiger, leopard, and zebra prints. Taken from the archives in collections dating back to 1961 and 1981, the leopard motif is being reinvented in a black and white color scheme – this future iconic dress plays with asymmetry to become more coherent with the times. But the pleats are a direct reference to a sketch done by Hubert de Givenchy himself.

This slightly devilish getup goes back to the essence of the great couture house. Less sexy and more final-form, the new look developed by Clare Waight Keller marks a fluid and joyful process – a punchy, feline, but devilishly contemporary attitude. Softly but surely, Givenchy’s creative director seems to break away from her predecessor’s more somber and gothic style. This new vision of Spring/Summer 2018 unfolded before the eyes of Julianne Moore, Pedro Almodovar, Lily Collins, and Rooney Mara.


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