PARIS (AP) — In times of doubt and self-searching, fashion houses often go back to their roots — to their atelier. Givenchy, in the wake of the departure of designer Matthew M. Williams, did just that. This season, the designer-less house held on Wednesday a menswear show at its Avenue George V salons — an archetypical couture setting — to try to re-center and find its voice once more. Models walked slowly past guests, like in bygone decades, for a show whose emphasis was the clothes, rather than showmanship.
This season, there was no razzmatazz, no celebrities — just a pared-down audience, nibbling madeleines, Turkish delight, and sipping champagne around dinner tables. It was a small, sometimes nostalgic display that laid bare the finesse and power of the age-old house’s famed atelier, making for a collection brimming with style, finesse, and luxury.
GIVENCHY GETS ICONIC AND REVERENTIAL
In the very atelier where the late fashion legend Hubert de Givenchy once crafted his most iconic designs, Wednesday served as a poignant reminder of the house’s profound ties to couture. Givenchy’s design studio showcased fine tailoring with an array of suits featuring bare arms emerging gracefully through holes inserted at the suit's underarm, while sleeves flapped elegantly on top.
This design ethos paid homage to the founder’s affinity for innovative cuts. The color palette incorporated hues of blue, including Klein, pale, and navy, alongside gray and brown, honoring the founder’s distinctive preferences. However, the collection also embarked on explorations of sapphire, a color so beloved by de Givenchy that he saw it as an alternative to classic black.
It resulted in a muted color scheme for a relatively understated collection. Nevertheless, the simplicity of the designs did not equate to a lack of interest. Among the thoughtful minimalist creations was a pearl loose tunic top, part-Star Trek, part-ER, paired with fur chapka headwear. The melodious strains of Leonard Cohen’s “Take This Waltz” wrapped the collection in a nostalgic aura.
One particularly striking element was the reimagining of the iconic blouse blanche, capturing the essence of workwear with a couture twist. Coats and suits sported incisions reminiscent of de Givenchy’s penchant for capes.
However, amidst this transitional phase for Givenchy, certain designs, while luxurious, occasionally felt somewhat disconnected, mirroring the house’s ongoing journey to redefine itself. The show left fashion enthusiasts anticipating its next move — the choice of a successor to Williams, who will undoubtedly have the challenge of steering this venerable fashion house into its next chapter.
BOTTER BLASTS BOLD CARIBBEAN FLARE INTO ECLECTIC SHOW
Botter, renowned for its “Caribbean couture,” unveiled an eclectic mix that blurred the lines between sartorial finesse and sportswear, peppered with their signature quirks. The collection by designers Rushemy Botter and Lisi Herrebrugh was a vibrant demonstration of their knack for fusing sustainability with avant-garde fashion, a philosophy that earned them the 2022 ANDAM Grand Prize.
The show featured a brown, nipped-shouldered ensemble with minimalist lines, uniquely accessorized with a woolen beanie proudly declaring “Caribbean.” This piece, more than just a headwear, was a nod to the designer’s heritage.
In striking contrast, a classic black tie and white shirt were paired with urban sneakers, embodying Botter’s flair for fusing formalwear with casual elements. Bursts of eye-popping yellow in a loose tunic gown brought the Caribbean’s vibrancy to Paris.
A recurring theme in the co-ed show was the haphazard and voluminous layering of garments in divergent hues, creating a funky, energetic vibe on the runway. This approach, emblematic of Botter’s innovative spirit, has set them apart in the fashion world, showcasing an aesthetic that marries sustainability with cultural richness.
As models sashayed down the runway in this collection, Botter’s vision for an environmentally conscious and culturally diverse fashion industry was crystal clear. The collection was not just a display of garments, but rather a celebration of the brand’s journey in redefining the norms of fashion with a sustainable approach.
EGONLAB ROCKS PARIS WITH FIERCE BLACKS
In a display of futurism meets fashion, Egonlab’s latest collection lit up Paris Fashion Week with its innovative designs -- and dramatic lighting. The Wednesday show saw a runway bathed in dappled beams, setting the stage for a series of fierce, black men’s looks that commanded attention with their oversized, harsh shoulders.
Designers Florentin Glemarec and Kevin Nompeix, known for their blend of artistry and boldness, presented a show that seamlessly combined elements of the past and future. A standout piece was a black tuxedo, nipped at the waist, creating an Asiatic silhouette that epitomized East meets West. Gothic Glam Rock met 70s flair in a billowing sheeny leather trench coat adorned with ridiculously long tassels, evoking a warrior-like presence.
The collection then took a softer turn, with moments of blossoming florals and total look denim, showcasing Egonlab’s versatility and commitment to diverse expression. One particular soft foulard print look, held by a neck hoop, added a touch of provocation with a cutaway revealing a nipple.
PLUMES AND POWER SUITS: NOUCHI’S ECLECTIC FUSION
Louis-Gabriel Nouchi’s latest collection kicked off with an arresting long black Asiatic trench. This opening act was swiftly succeeded by a strikingly textured black trapeze silhouette, masterfully crafted from plumes, which floated down the runway with an air of dark, enigmatic allure.
The strange collection was a bold interplay of contrasting aesthetics. It blended elements of kink with robust muscle vests, creating a visual dialogue that was enthralling. The broad shoulders of the 80s made a commanding comeback, infusing the collection with a nostalgic yet contemporary edge.
Moments of sartorial refinement emerged as a contrast. One noteworthy piece was a sheeny cross-over suit jacket in a deep, mesmerizing blue.
Adding a dash of glitz to the eclectic ensemble were flashes of gold, manifesting in shoes and amulet-style accessories. These shimmering details injected a playful pizzazz, rounding out a collection that might have been overly eclectic for some.