Taking two veritable ends of the spectrum together, a distinct form of the future takes root and stands its ground in the hallowed house of Givenchy with its spring/summer 2020 offering.
Romanced by the reassuringly comprehensible 90s era, which for a lot of us was the formative fragment of our lives, Clare Waight Keller goes on a nostalgic deep-dive into decade that found her in one of the greatest cities in the world—New York. “When I arrived in New York, I was very much a tomboy, and there was this raw, boyish energy,” she says in a conversation with Vogue backstage of Givenchy’s spring/summer 2020 show in Paris. Compelling a dialogue with her past and transposing it to her present and foreseeable future, she defies the typical fork in the road when fleshing out a concept. Instead, she marvels at the dissonance of dichotomies, fashioning a connection that threads through the hems of the storied house of heritage and her own personal narrative. Taking the decade’s penchant for the nonchalance and marrying it the precision of the present, the creative director for Givenchy strikes a searing symphony of polar opposites, such as floral and leather, rigor and relaxation, and form and function.
Housed in Erolpa, an industrial space-cum-cafe tucked within the capillaries of Gangnam’s streets in Seoul, Korea, we came face-to-face with what stands to be a love letter to the early aughts. At first glance, it seems like a merry mix of different aesthetics. Jarring to the senses as it may have been, this was precisely the energy of the 90s. Rebellious, abstract, and unexpected, the existence of symmetries between looks became more apparent with its spirit, one that spoke of liberated femininity.
Dealt with a poetic and deft sleight of hand, there existed a unity in the colors of marigold to magenta, cerulean and a swirl of emerald, which complemented sandy neutrals and the standard stark black and white. Not lost, of course, was a sprig of blossoming blooms that manifested itself in dresses with rounded sleeves that will have even the edgiest scream: Viva la vie boheme. With a saturation of chintz, pomegranates, and nasturtiums printed on floor-grazing numbers, there was sufficient juxtaposition in sedated separates, such as leather dresses, khaki ensembles, and of course, calculated tailoring that cuts through many chapters of the Givenchy history.
Continuing to pay homage to the decade of grit and grunge, Claire Waight Keller makes a strong case and active push for upcycling, where the denim used functions as the time capsule that links the past to the future with fabrics sourced straight from the actual 90s. Finding beauty in the fragmented and found, the results are beautifully constructed two-toned jeans, column skirts, and even a dress. It would be almost criminal to pick particular standouts, because the joy of Givenchy’s spring/summer 2020 offering lies in the ability of its pieces to relate well with another. Whether it’s the strictness of suiting that is offset by the carefree spirit of denim, a bouquet of florals worn with the roomiest gathered khaki trousers, or a slice of leather co-opting with accordion pleats, there is something that will work well with each carefully thought of piece.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a complete resurgence of the 90s without accessories to round off each look. From modern iterations of wooden clogs and square mules that were aplenty during its heyday, a clear highlight was the introduction of the ID93, a new slouchy triple pouch bag that is crafted in deliciously yellow perforated chain-link nappa, which features an assortment of textures, such as the twisted braid handles, tasselled charms, and the new double ‘G’ in bevelled leather.
A coming together of two veritable ends of the spectrum, a distinct form of the future takes root and stands its ground in the hallowed house of Givenchy. Under the wilful helm of Clare Waight Keller and her winsome charm and understanding of the woman of the times, it becomes clear why this point-of-view posits a perfectible human nature, that once was can still find relevance as an essential necessity for the story not just for the brand, but for you most importantly.
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