Givenchy's understated androgyny
Almost certainly, few people entering the Givenchy runway show late Sunday in Paris would have heard of Annemarie Schwarzenbach prior to this event.
But the lady, a noted free-thinking writer and photographer of the Weimar Republic famous for wearing understated mannish clothes, will now have had a minor role in high-fashion history. Schwarzenbach´s neat, understated aesthetic rippled through this whole show. In our era and in a fashion season marked by androgyny, this understated vision of cultivated cross-dressing felt just right.
As it happened, Givenchy´s designer Clare Waight Keller was in pretty impressive form too. Notably the brilliantly cut cargo pants, finished high up the waist and above the ankle with long flat pockets. Some paired with some perfect little Perfectos – that´s French for a biker jacket – or ideal wide shouldered Eisenhower jackets.
For evening, her plissé chiffon silk dresses cut with fan-shaped breastplates were excellent, as were her flowing one-shouldered Grecian minimalist cocktails.
Quite correctly, given the theme was individualistic androgyny, this was a co-ed show and the guys' clothes were highly very desirable too – whether the sleek leather spy coats or the curvy parachute fabric pants or the sleeveless Perfecto worn over a chalk-stripe wool suit.
Waight Keller´s silvery finale, from metallic herring bone blazers for the gentlemen or the black silk columns trimmed and piped in silver, worn with capes, for the ladies. In a word, this was Waight Keller´s best ready-to-wear show for the house of Givenchy. No wonder she took such a long bow, wearing the cargo pants seen in the show.
Entitled “I Am Your Mirror,” the collection was unveiled inside the Palais de Justice, whose façade was done up with the name Givenchy floating mysteriously in the air in front of France`s largest courthouse, in a marvelous use of lasers and vapor spray.
Schwarzenbach, one suspects, would have loved the image and been proud of how her personal preferences are shared by so many young people today.
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