Givenchy and Sackville-West chic
If any designer can be said to be unquestionably in the zone this month in Western Europe, it has to be Clare Waight Keller, who staged a triumphant couture collection for the house of Givenchy Tuesday night.
Five days ago she also staged a stellar menswear collection. It was inspired by the great Indian dandy, the Maharaja of Indore, a wealthy blue blood who attended Oxford, lived fabulously in 1930s Europe, and was photographed by Man Ray.
On Tuesday night on the opposite side of the Seine, Waight Keller paid homage to her native England’s most famous garden Sissinghurst, with a marvelous floral fantasy couture show, where the enormous silhouettes followed the shapes of irises, pansies and gypsophila.
And talk about a brilliant piece of staging – in some brilliant work by producer Villa Eugénie. Eighteen musicians from a chamber orchestra were miraculously perched on chairs attached to the nine soaring wooden columns of the 16th century Couvent des Cordeliers chapel.
What was once a nest bed of revolutionaries during The Terror became a setting of grace, as the cast appeared in utterly romantic compositions. All echoing the glory of Vita Sackville-West’s legendary garden, with its five acres of garden 'rooms', each with their special color -- where careful symmetry is juxtaposed with more intimate geometrical gardens.
Like Sudanese beauty Adut Akech, in strict-white silk pants topped by a gray blouse in waves and rivulets of organza. Other models appeared in gigantic folds, uber massive blue fabric peonies. Followed by a stupendous gown of giant scalloped shapes leaves of violet silk, with matching tights and high-heels.
Several wore one-and-half meter-wide organza hats that mimicked giant petals, gliding grandly underneath the orchestra playing dramatically, from Phillip Glass to Dan Morrissey’s Ebb and Flow. Each musician obliged to conduct himself from the perches five meters about the catwalk.
"I was looking at the relationship between Virginia Wolff and Vita Sackville-West. I have visited Sissinghurst so many times, I am quite obsessed with it. It is one of the most romantic places in England. And the gardens that she built influenced all the colors and shapes of this collection. But this is also a bit of a love letter from myself to Hubert, as I really went into his archive from the beginning and I discovered all these beautiful millinery shapes from the 50's. Like the shape of the cloche dresses. So I really wanted to amplify the volumes I have been working these past few seasons to the biggest possible scale. In the end, it’s meant to be like the beautiful poetic love statement, just like the garden was," explained Waight Keller.
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