Amidst ingenuity, the Givenchy Haute Couture Fall-Winter 2019 collection embodies a palimpsest of glamour – as traces of peerless majesty are streaked with rebellion. Unravelling a tapestry of romance and antiquity, Clare Waight Keller invokes the notion of Noblesse Radicale, inflecting the traditions of Givenchy Haute Couture with new textures and volumes. Bearing the fruit of imaginary journeys through villas, chateaux, and stately homes, these swans emerge as punk effigies – bowerbirds of plumage traced with Indian palampore and silver filigree. Paraded through the nave of the Musée des Arts Decoratifs, each silhouette bears the name of French Châteaux, in a subtle wink to the birthplaces of the grand tradition of Haute Couture.
En tremblant, ensembles shiver with rapturous embellishment – accumulating heirloom finery from head to toe. From flowering wallpapers and rich upholstery to heraldic silverware, impressions of the past dissolve into modern contrasts of tailleur and deconstructed eveningwear. Debuting in shredded hound’s tooth and dégradé tweed, the greyscale palette is warmed through in petrol and Prussian blue with soft shades of flamingo pink, periwinkle, jade and straw. On a sculpted round shoulder and hourglass waist, blazers and coats evoke riding capes or tuxedo hybrids in grain de poudre wool, silk satin and double-face cashmere.
Invoking the immortal symbolism of the ‘Tree of Life’, the unfurling leaves, petals and ripe fruits of palampore motifs are 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. Flyaway ribbons cinch parachute shapes layered over dropped crinolines and pleated tulle skirts, whilst fitted bodices fall into iridescent lace pleating or fountains of fringe. Evoking the notion of ‘undone glamour’, opulent men’s silhouettes reprise the palampore motif in embellished lounge tailoring encrusted with metalwork.
On foot, classic pointed pumps and booties are finished in jewel-toned transparency, as sandals are traced with crystal vines. Accentuating the rebellious grandeur of crested mohawks and seed pearl chandelier earrings, decadent palladium crowns bloom with curling 3D petals, whilst peacock combs frame the face in a daring riposte to pomp and ceremony.