Smoke billowed around a backlit Givenchy sign at the entrance to the Fall/Winter 2020 show. Guests were then led into a crimson corridor and out into a fog-filled courtyard. You could barely see a thing and, yet, it evoked a surreal feeling, like stumbling onto a movie set. The cinematic quality was every bit intentional.
French New Wave cinema, in particular, inspired Clare Waight Keller’s vision for the season. What is noteworthy is her exploration of the “imperfect beauty of an elusive arthouse heroine”. Imperfection is rarely a motif for a fashion show, where every detail is calculated down to the molecule, but Givenchy’s version was imperfectly perfect for this moment in history.
We’re happy to be in the present, where this collection will help us step into arthouse extravagance come fall.
What does that mean for the looks? They weren’t traditionally pretty for the most part, but they were strong – defiant even. Shapes were on the bulky side, with baggy trousers, cocoon coats, and suits outfitted with overwide shoulders. Even hats were huge and face-obscuring. Surfaces during the first portion of the show were free from embellishment, save for the occasional graphic print, and then went maximal towards the end.
Vests were decorated with pom-pom fringes, a midnight-blue top came covered in fringe and feathers, and a pleated chiffon dress was upholstered in black and white tinsel at the neckline and waist – very cinematic, very cool. It’s easy to imagine these looks on the New Wave cinema stars of the past, but we’re happy to be in the present, where this collection will help us step into arthouse extravagance come fall.