Givenchy: New Wave revival at Longchamp
New Wave, the last great movement in French cinema, and the artists associated with it were the wellsprings for the latest collection from the house of Givenchy, staged inside the Hippodrome de Longchamp.
Presented Sunday night in a dank and chilly Paris, the Fall/Winter 2020-21 was surprisingly grand given the humble, indie and off-the-cuff origins of New Wave. Though the real sources were the engaged feminist artists who date from the New Wave era, notably the artwork of Helena Almeida, who had a retrospective in the Jeu de Paume last year.
“My Work is My Body, My Body is My Work,” was the name of the exhibition on Almeida, who was in her late 20s at the height of New Wave. And human shape and form was decisive in these clothes.
The result was grand, even grandiose silhouettes, exaggerated curvy shoulders and elongated profiles. Creative director Clare Waight Keller’s fire red double-face cashmere coats were utterly charming as was her heavenly light gray floor-length gown finished with putty green gloves. Plus, the assemblage looks had real punch, like the arty harlequin red and black pantsuit, shown with a red, white and black silken scarf tote.
The UK designer is certainly talented when it comes to evening. She is a class act who creates classy gowns. For day, this collection was less convincing – with too few plausible ideas for work or play. Far too many ideas were too dressed up for an office quite frankly.
Nonetheless, the metallic walled set, and 100-meter-long catwalk looked great. And the paddock reinvented as a cocktail bar, bathed in red dry ice and serviced by a score of chisel-jawed barmen made for a fantastic pre-show cocktail. However, the long series of tight runway spotlights made the show lighting a nightmare. As a result, most mobile phone images were all out of focus. Has no one ever heard of Instagram in the production company?
Be that as it may, whatever else you say about Waight Keller, she is a great image maker. She is also a designer who loves a big hat, the bigger the better: her giant cloches were one-meter in diameter, helping to create a dramatic finale.
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