In a beautiful hotel suite in Mayfair, I was given a sneak preview of the collection when I attended a private viewing on 23rd July. The collection, named 'Night Noir' a combination of English an French, is a tribute to brand founder, Hubert de Givenchy who passed away last year.
Clare Waight Keller, a Brit with an incredible fashion pedigree who has designed for some of the world's largest fashion houses was lesser known outside of the industry until she was revealed earlier this year to be the designer of the Duchess of Sussex's wedding dress.
Clare's career has been a self-driven success story. She started as a Stylist for Calvin Klein in New York before holding design and Creative Director Roles roles at Ralph Lauren, Gucci, Pringle of Scotland and Chloé. In 2017, Keller was appointed artistic director at Givenchy, becoming the first woman to hold the position at the company. It's unusual for a Designer to become a household name overnight and all eyes will be on her for the unveiling of her 2nd collection for The House of Givenchy in stores today.
Clare drew creative inspiration from the glamour and cinematic style of 1980's Berlin.The story begins with bold and sculptural faux-fur and tough leather outerwear pieces and then as the 'night' unfolds, the layers are gradually removed to reveal delicate lace and plisse fabrics. I fell in love with the design concept which juxtaposes delicate femininity against the toughness of Berlin night club.
Many details such as fringing, lace and bows are lifted straight from the house's design archives, plisse, (pleats) being a signature look for Givenchy. Delicate lingerie-inspired slip dresses are crafted in chantilly lace from a Calais workshop, the only one of it's kind to work with haute-couture product.
Even in the lightest of lace pieces, there is a darkness to the palette which reminds us that we are still in 1980s Berlin.
Accessories lend a toughness to every look as seen on the runway with heavy boots styled with every look.
Of course, no preview is complete without the chance to try on my favourite pieces from the collection. Givenchy Fall 18 launches in stores on August 15th.