AW10 PFW Report: Givenchy

08 March 2010

What a day it has been for filling your wardrobe. It started with a perfect wardrobe wake up at Celine, and by suppertime, at Givenchy, the closet was complete.

Riccardo Tisci’s Givenchy is generally laced with a gothic darkness that ranges from the dramatic to the theatrical. This can be a worry when the audience is desperate for clothes that make sense in a world that doesn’t. But for AW 2010 there was nothing that resembled props or costume. The Givenchy look for winter hinges on simple principles of masculine tailoring, layering and an athletic body consciousness.

The masculine tailoring came in the form of perfect figure skimming chesterfield coats with slim lapels worn over what is fast becoming the season’s chicest trouser: a skinny flare cropped at the ankle. Black, camel or scarlet were the colour choices. Delicate lace T-shirts went underneath.  And all were worn with a stiletto heeled, laced up, high ankle boot. Ample parkas with generous storm flaps, cut in inky velvet with massive snuggly hoods looked like just what everyone wanted right there and then in the icy venue.

Generally I am deeply suspicious of clothes that can be described as ‘architectural’. The female body usually loses out when designers start playing with structures that look better in buildings. But the Givenchy layered tailored pieces worked a kind of architectural geometry and brought something quite feminine and decorative to all that masculine minimalism. Coats sat away from the body, an illusion of tailcoat layered over straight knee length base. 

The layering continued in jersey pieces with the sporty texture of neoprene: short skirts with waistbands peeling away from a second skin under layer, fastened with chunky zips and worn over Norwegian knits with seams bound in black. For Givenchy this looked oddly, but oh-so-pleasingly, cosy.

And after this diversion into the gothic outdoors, it was back to an impeccable trouser suit with hip length jacket and those must-have ankle length flares. For evening, the neoprene jersey layers got sculpted shoulder pieces of tight frills, a scattering of big black cabuchon cut crystals or an accompaniment of airy ostrich feather t shirt.

It offered modern solutions and simple fuss free glamour that have been so absent from the catwalk since Helmut Lang retired.  It was smart. It was sharp. And as the audience dispersed for dinner the consensus was, it’s what we all want right now.

- Paula Reed in Paris


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