Can couture be punk? Punks would probably be greatly offended by the question given their pernicious disapproval of all things bourgeoisie. At the very least, couture can be rebellious, as Clare Waight Keller so effortlessly proves with her stunning Givenchy Fall 2019 Couture collection.
Rebellion is at the heart of punk as it rejects tradition, norms, and social mores. With each rigorous outing under her leadership, Givenchy’s couture offerings grow more and more enticing, while simultaneously respecting the codes Hubert de Givenchy himself established over half a century ago. But this time around, she did so while rejecting tradition. That means this collection, by metrics, is at least one-third punk.
This season, her looks were fit for couture queen Céline Dion, especially if Dion was expecting to play Cruella de Vil in a Broadway musical anytime soon. There was something ferocious about the uncompromising juxtaposition of black and white when they were pitted against each other on roomy drop-shoulder coats or melted into feathered layers on column gowns. Degrade houndstooth patterns that gave way to shredded fringe also offered a glimpse of Givenchy ateliers’ brilliant construction skills.
These Givenchy gals are no shrinking violets.
Coated in electric shocks of feathers, encrusted in crystal beading, glittering with obsidian fringe, or gilded with gleaming brocade, these looks had something to say. They were impossible to tear your eyes away from, which is the whole reason couture exists in the first place: to be worn and worn fabulously. Take those sumptuous capes, especially the baby pink version – they were achingly gorgeous without being one bit saccharine.
These Givenchy gals are no shrinking violets, but they might be on their way to the Met Gala listening to The Shrieking Violets. Never have so many feathered frocks looked so menacing. Givenchy Fall 2019 was pure noir theater, and its savage edge was made all the sharper for its unexpected loveliness.