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At Givenchy, East Meets West

Clare Waight Keller delivered an intensely elegant collection of sharp tailoring, giant knitwear and a bit of functional outerwear inspired by the Maharaja of Indore.
By
  • Angelo Flaccavento

PARIS, France — After last season's show in Florence, held in a beautiful garden so big the energy was a bit dispersed, Givenchy brought guests back to the cozy, gilded splendor of their own salons on Avenue George V. The smaller scale suited Clare Waight Keller's creative vision a lot better. Being so close to the models allowed viewers to savour the collection's finer details, the couture-like attention to cut and proportion and, yes, the elegance.

The collection was intensely elegant, with a twisted sense of formality. Waight Keller took inspiration from Yeshwant Rao Holkar II, Maharaja of Indore, recently the subject of a charming exhibition at the Musée des Arts Decoratifs. The maharaja traveled a lot to the west, loved bespoke suits and had exquisite modernist tastes; he also befriended Man Ray and was, ultimately, an urban drifter.

This all made for a concise collection of sharp tailoring closed with giant pins, humongous knitwear and just a tiny bit of functional outerwear. Best was the suiting, of course, even though the mix of East and West resembled a little too closely what Sarah Burton has been doing for a while at Alexander Mcqueen.

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