Clare Waight Keller has already returned Givenchy to its rightful place on the men’s calendar in Paris, but the artistic director of the French fashion house chose to debut her first full men’s ready-to-wear collection in Florence. And it was worth the wait.
At Pitti Uomo, in the gardens of Villa Palmieri, the designer presented a line-up of tailoring-meets-sportswear looks inspired by her own experience working in New York, as well as what she’s seen trending in the hyper-urban South Korean capital.
“I find what’s happening incredibly vibrant,” Waight Keller told press during a show preview. “Particularly young men in Seoul, who are meticulous about fashion, sort of tribal, sort of cultish, and highly accessorised. They have a real passion for a look. Seeing them there reminded me of how we wanted to be in the 80s and 90s, of wanting to belong, to have the best of a look,” she explained. “Coming out of Asian culture, there’s this whole underground music subculture, where they take Art Nouveau typography and morph and liquefy it in computers to create album and CD covers. It’s super exciting.”
Waight Keller’s interpretation materialised into “Nouveau Glitch”, which saw the use of various archival house codes – including overcoats and trousers in Italian jacquards, a reference to founder Hubert de Givenchy’s childhood growing up near La Manufacture des Gobelins – as well as other elements, like visuals inspired by the poetry of Charles Baudelaire.
Suits took shape in a range of styles – and we even saw the return of the three-button jacket, paired with matching 90s-inspired trousers and styled with doubled belts and chains. The rave culture of the decade was embodied further by what can be described best as very British haircuts on models.
Furthering this play on the formal and informal, the suited looks were styled with technical outwear pieces, like bonded anoraks and flyaway parkas in lightweight Korean fabrics. Accessories ranged from classical to industrial designs, with baroque pearl chain jewellery to magnetic webbing belts on offer.
Also making its debut is the Givenchy x Onitsuka Tiger limited edition sneaker in two variations. We say it’s a fresh fit for the brand as it continues to catapult menswear into exciting territories.