In this MEGA exclusive, Sarah Lahbati defines a new glamor of graphic as she paints the town red in Givenchy’s Fall/Winter 2020 collection.
Hubert de Givenchy’s design philosophy has always revolved around liberating women through clothing. He has always had this affinity towards creating dresses that empowered them, not constricting them in what they wore. “I’ve dreamt of a liberated woman, who will no longer be swathed in fabric, armor [sic] plated,” the debonair designer once stated. “My dresses are real dresses.”
Unlike other storied fashion houses, Givenchy is fortunate enough not to undergo drastic changes in terms of its creative direction in this day and age. While it’s understandable that fashion per se will always be adept to the ever-changing times, the house of Givenchy under the helm of Claire Waight Keller somehow kept intact its core aesthetic: simple yet elevated by putting more emphasis on shape.
In contrast to last season’s side trip into upcycled denim and nineties- inflected ready-to-wear, Waight Keller made a more formal collection. She put the limelight on her demonstrative tailoring—a specialty she became quite known in her tenure in Givenchy. And by revisiting the archival imagery of its founder’s midcentury creations, she yielded a collection with an assertive graphic verve.
Working in a stark palette of black, red, and white, she added a feminine touch incorporating shapes. The shoulder was definitely a focal point of the collection, but with soft, full sleeves. Upon looking closely at these distinct details, you’ll notice that the collection has a good balance between strong and delicate features. So, as Givenchy always aims to make practical clothing, it’s only fitting to put these creations on a personality who impeccably embodies these traits. Enter Sarah Lahbati-Gutierrez—a woman of persistence, compassion, and courage.
A New Role
Living in the midst of a pandemic, our priorities were suddenly altered. Indulging in any form of luxury suddenly became impractical. So, this leaves us a question: what then is fashion’s role in today’s setting? While there is a truth that many suddenly became frugal, that was only a conspicuous perspective at the onset. As we started to acclimatize ourselves to the so-called new normal, we realized that finding any means of escapism should be prioritized, too. Whether a person’s coping mechanism is through retail therapy or binge-watching, it must be done so as to keep ourselves sane as we try to move past the havoc brought by the coronavirus.
“I think fashion’s role in our society now is to uplift and inspire [us] in the midst of all the darkness that is going on. A little glimpse of beauty sparks a bit of inspiration that we all need,” Sarah shares. “When I decide to get up and put on a nice outfit, I get excited to start my day.” For her, fashion has always served its purpose and remained enough to keep her going.
Much like how the fashion industry looks for alternatives to solve its modern-day problems, Sarah also needed to navigate new methods being a working mom and even a newly-wedded wife. “The biggest struggle I’ve faced as a woman and as a mom is balancing work and personal life. Nothing means more to me than being able to be there for my family,” the actress and model admits. “[While] sometimes schedules fill up, one thing I learned is to alter the normalized fast-paced life and actually slow down and really appreciate quality time with my family.” That’s why even if Sarah is often perceived as a tenacious woman towards achieving her goal, her own alter ego constantly balances such strong attributes of hers when it comes to family. She’s like a house sparrow who’s got the equilibrium of being dominant and submissive, strong yet delicate.
So, while the quarantine was undeniably challenging, Sarah realized the significance of being of service to others. The only way for us to “foster positive change in our society is by uplifting one another, helping each other, and letting each other know that each voice matters,” she explains. But as we aim for a better society this holiday season, we must never forget the sole reason why we do what we need to do—family. “I’m grateful for the life I have and for my family and friends. I’ve learned to appreciate the little things and live in the moment. I hope we keep faith that one-day things will be better amidst the crisis and everything else that’s going on. Everything will be better in God’s perfect time.”
Perhaps the best way we could pay homage to the profound contribution of Hubert de Givenchy in the industry is to revisit our values again just like what Waight Keller did this season. Let’s ask for the things Givenchy believed in: a relationship with fashion that enriches every facet of our life. When fashion is defined by attention to the fine detail of clothes, it ends up being not about clothes, but about the woman wearing them. In doing so, we are able to magnify that a liberated woman stands for the caution and courage that everyone immensely desires to express. So, even if we are oblivious of what the future holds in the coming months, we can hold onto our own ideologies. As Sarah advises, “each individual has his or her own priorities. Find out what matters most—family, faith, loved ones, or career—and hold on to that, and never give up.”
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