Givenchy's AW18 show explores darker territory

Clare Waight-Keller revisits 1980s Germany


After presenting a louche rock and roll collection for her Givenchy debut collection in October, Clare Waight-Keller's second collection for the house explores darker territory. For Autumn/Winter 2018 the designer delved into the world of film noir and the Berlin nightlife scene in the 1980s. She was particularly inspired by the 1983 film The Hunger, and also the Berlin-set television film Lust and Sound. Her 80s themed collection was also a nod to Germany's early industrial/electro band Kraftwerk whose hits explored the darkness and ethereal setting of a city split in two. This era also marked a period in western Europe marred by a decline in industry and the disillusionment of a youth generation.

The show opened with a cavalcade of luxurious fur coats - the antithesis of the socialist East and a metaphor for the bourgeois West of Berlin. Two worlds split in half. But this extravagance had a twist: the entire collection was produced in faux fur, while still managing to look rich and luxurious. Givenchy is one of a number of brands that are saying 'no' to fur.

The Berlin divide along with the threat of the Cold War in the early 80s was cause enough for Waight-Keller to adhere to a strict and strong silhouette with strong shoulders throughout. The furs are juxtaposed by stark monochrome codes as well as asymmetric panelling on oiled leather coats and shirts overlaying her new tailoring. Graphic prints have also been reworked from the Givenchy archive.

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And in a fashion world that is dominated by the accessories market, Waight-Keller gets it spot on with the creation of a new bag, the Gem, available in 4 different sizes and we also saw the GV3 from last season (her debut handbag), only this time reworked in a larger size with some versions emboldened with a western trim.

The men's looks followed the same theme: a dark and beguiling immersion into sub-culture and secret rebellion. The oiled asymmetrical leather coats were paired with coloured pleated leather trousers; that staple of the 1980s nightclub scene, the cycling top makes a debut in various guises married with high gloss trousers and a zipped cowboy boot or a trainer boot. This is a darker Waight-Keller we’re seeing, so different from her Chloe years, and perhaps the future of her Givenchy new wave.

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