And now for something completely different.
The couture season primarily focuses on beautiful – but fairly predictable – red carpet fare. For Spring 2019 Couture, Clare Waight Keller steered Givenchy into surprising territory, which included a fetishistic line-up of slick latex, magnificently sculptural couture shapes, and unbearably beautiful fabrics.
While it was a wildly imaginative and experimental line-up, it was built on the simple foundation of contrasts between dark and light. Waight Keller pitted opaque appliqués versus diaphanous fabrics, latex versus lace, negative space versus positive space, white versus black, color versus monochrome, and gilded patterns versus ethereal materials. Nothing has ever looked so angelically sweet and so pulse-racing at the same time.
Latex was the first assertion, coming at the beginning as a pair of skintight leggings paired with a simple basque-cut blazer to set the tone for more surprises to come. Cape-backed gowns, twee doily minis, and stiff, lacquered lace looks came next – each more beautiful than the one before.
And then an arresting couture moment appeared with a black obsidian ruff, massive bell sleeves, and a slim-cut skirt to wow the lookers-on. For decades, Givenchy has made strong use of feathers in its couture collections, but this moment topped them all with its bold, uncompromising outlook.
Can you crown a show the best show of Fashion Week before Fashion Week is over? Because we officially just did.
From there, Waight Keller sent forward a jaw-dropping parade of couture shapes in the form of oversized bows that resembled massive wings but were actually backpacks (what!). Everyone is going to want one, and only a few will have them. Major points for cleverness, style, and desirability.
Other astonishing looks included a lipstick-red gown topped with a latex bib, looks made entirely from multi-colored fringe, pleated lilac fabric folded like origami into wings worn as a top, gowns with cut-outs that were scooped out all the way to the belly button, an ethereal drawstring crop top that sprouted tufts of feathers along the shoulders, and a mesmerizing frilled gown paired with a single striking cobalt blue latex sleeve. The hits just kept coming.
Can you crown a show the best show of Fashion Week before Fashion Week is over? Because we officially just did. Take a bow, Clare Waight Keller.