Walking the halls of one of fashion's most iconic houses, in the footsteps of a designer so integral to the forging of the brand's contemporary DNA, add to that being the first woman to take the reins, and indeed, there was a lot riding on Clare Waight Keller for her first collection at Givenchy. Fresh from Chloé and entering into an entirely new stable – think menswear and, soon, couture for Spring/Summer 2018, the designer delivered a quietly confident and masterful collection, referencing the work of Hubert de Givenchy but with her sights set firmly on the future.
Showing to a packed front row – think Rooney Mara, Julianne Moore, Cate Blanchett and Lily Collins, to name a few – anticipation for Waight Keller's presence at the house had been drummed up over previous weeks with a feline-themed teaser film shot by Steven Meisel. Less of a collection overtly about cats, however, but rather the allure of a woman with a feline air – seductive, mysterious and leading – the fluid dresses of Chloé days were replaced by a structured, tailored silhouette, prairie palettes replaced by fundamentals – black, navy and white, while colour and print were taken from Hubert de Givenchy's archive sketches and presented in flashes of hot red, primary blue, stripes, and abstracted zebra and snow leopard prints.
Perpetuating a sense of individuality in each look rather than ascribing a single thread across the collection, for Waight Keller, each was meticulously cast and styled to ensure this message resonated. Earrings were often just in one ear, micro bags were clipped to the waist with their chain straps hanging down or held in the hand, clutches and midi bags were clasped to one side, and cowboy boots with capped-toes in either ankle or mid-calf added an assured toughness to the Givenchy woman, something no doubt Waight Keller will explore further in the seasons ahead.