Paris Day 7: Givenchy’s Culture Clash and Valentino’s Imagination

Pick up old British grandma styles, early 90s aristocracy, punkish girls, urban functionality, jewel gowns and shake them all together to see what should come out. Clare Waight Keller at Givenchy did it and the result was great, even if at first sight flooring. Every single look seemed disconnected, but it wasn’t. It told a complete story. The coats and jackets were powerful with spiky or rounded big shoulders, plissé printed tight poly silk dress, long and cozy knitwear, urban functional puffy down bombers, Japanese herringbone wools, and precious evening garments and tuxedos were balanced and aesthetically catchy. The smart idea of Waight Keller wasn’t just an over mixed crazy style, but a culture clash between young and old with a lot of differences in term of aesthetics.

Givenchy Fall/Winter 2019 show in Paris. Photo by Guillaume Roujas for NOWFASHION.

The atelier meets the streets at Valentino. Pierpaolo Piccioli merged the couture imprint of the maison with graphics made exclusively by radical Japanese designer Jun Takahashi of Undercover in order to elevate the sudden poetry of the streets. It was a synthesis of words and prints with the aim of talking about love: for this season, four contemporary poets (Greta Bellamacina, Mustafa the Poet, Yrsa Daley-Ward, and Robert Montgomery) have been gathered in a small publication entitled “Valentino – On Love.” The iconography created by the Japanese designer applied to almost half of the looks, so the strong and unmistakable signs of Takahashi turned the collection into a hybrid that more resembled Undercover than Valentino. The other pieces of the collection, instead, were fully Piccioli even if these differences visually separated poetry, streets, and couture instead of blending them. This is the volume n. 2 of the collaboration between the Japanese designer and the Roman Maison; the first one, which was more balanced and coherent, was presented last January for the men’s collection.

Valentino Fall/Winter 2019 show in Paris. Photo by Regis Colin Berthelier for NOWFASHION.

This collection by Thom Browne marks the 10th anniversary since he brought his vision to Europe. It was January 2009 and the performance took place at Istituto di Scienze Militari Aeronautiche in Firenze, during the 75th edition of Pitti Uomo, and the concept included men sitting at their desks typing. This time around was the same, but with women instead. The show was a juxtaposition of his signature strict tailoring and decoration – the game was to propose a full wardrobe from Chesterfield coats, grey suits, and knitwear, that had their counterpart rendered in trompe l’œil, for sake of the highly skilled technical process. This handmade embroidery detail will easily land Browne firmly in the couture world due to the high level of craftsmanship seen in these clothes.

Thom Browne Fall/Winter 2019 show in Paris. Photo by Alessandro Garofalo for NOWFASHION.

Worth mentioning were two interesting and promising debuts. The first was 32-year-old Japanese designer Ryota Iwai from Kobe that presented an effortless high luxury collection. Entirely Made in Japan with all-natural yarn of outstanding quality, the offering covered both men and womenswear: soft tailoring, cozy homewear and elegant urbanwear in beautiful city coats. 

The second to not be missed is also connected with the land of the rising sun, even if fully Italian. Marco Zanini (former creative director at Rochas as well as Santoni Edited by Marco Zanini) launched his eponymous brand that fits perfectly in the zeitgeist. Everything starts from tailoring and Japan. Beautifully made coats and jackets with sliding panels and bows on the backs to adjust the fit on the waist, uniform jackets and beautiful kimono silk dresses with bias cuts: it was a gimmick due to the width of the fabric, so it kind of rolled around the body. High standards for a precisely made collection.