Paris Menswear Wednesday: Givenchy and Bianca Saunders
On a steamy Wednesday in Paris, Givenchy went full logomania, after rising star Bianca Saunders opened the day with a pioneering collection of sculptural street tailoring.
Givenchy: Logo overload
Logo overload at Givenchy, though why not, since this led Matthew Williams to produce his most powerful fashion statement for the Paris house.
It also felt that these clothes were why they hired Williams in the first place - to update the codes of the house. Though very much the codes laid down by Riccardo Tisci rather than any of the six other successors to founder Hubert de Givenchy.
To be fair, Williams was handed the reins just as the pandemic struck, and his ability to harness the avant-garde street style with which he built his reputation at his own house, 1017 ALYX 9SM, has been limited.
Which is what made this such a good show, where models marched through a pond of what looked like fat-free milk, at the center of which was a large pristine white cube – their putative backstage. All set within the confines of the Ecole Militaire, patrolled by grumpy camouflaged troops with machine guns, looking, quite frankly, faintly comical. Almost extras from Toy Story, as they surveyed the coiffed audience of some 800 editors, buyers and VIPs.
In a busy moment, Matthew showed a powerful 1017 ALYX 9SM collection with great panache at an abandoned Olympic sized swimming pool in Milan last Friday.
Back in Paris, Williams' biggest idea for Givenchy was logomania, from the opening look – a padded ecru baseball jacket, embossed and printed with Givenchy; the brand’s rectangular four G's and '1952,' the year of the house’s founding. He paired the jacket with the first of many chopped-off rubber wellingtons, ideal for splashing about the three-inch-deep pond.
After that, pretty much every look had a 'G' or a 'Givenchy'. Studded logos on the back of black hoodies in collegiate lettering; stamped across the rim of cashmere mujahidin beanies; prominent in white boxer shorts peering over jeans, Marky Mark-style; painted onto Day-Glo orange and lime sweatshirts.
“I love working with our logo, because Givenchy has such a beautiful logo that has not changed in 70 years. I love wearing it!” explained Williams in a post-show chat with fashion critics.
All told, an inner-city nomad look with plenty of punch and polish and active-sports references. Thanks to great zippered pants; techy parkas and cool nylon dusters.
“I think every look is grounded in reality. I can see pretty much every look existing on the street. For me that is a modern approach to fashion,” said the 36-year-old designer.
Finally, after experimenting with grander tailoring and couture references at Givenchy, Williams is doing, surely, what LVMH hired him to do.
There have been rumblings of discontent from within LVMH, but this sure has Williams embarking on the right path at Givenchy. For how long only time will tell.
Bianca Saunders: Sculptural sartorial street style
Sculptural street style at Bianca Saunders, a UK designer who has created an impressive body of work after just five years.
Saunders' great gift is ennobling modest fabrics like denim and fine cotton with couture-worthy cutting, resulting in something that is refined yet very hip.
Staged in a spare setting, with a nylon mesh caban backdrop, the collection contained some very clever cutting and tailoring. From superb trapezium denim jeans, cut with the cleverest of panels, to a series of natty jackets. These were made mega-rouched at the nape of the neck; cut with high regal collars and a scalloped back and finished at the front with curvy patch pockets. They all looked great, as did some arty great coats in frayed mercerized cotton and an open salvo of silk pajama looks made in blood orange or copper.
“I wanted something light that also looked very strong,” quietly explained Saunders of her tailoring, as she greeted fans backstage inside a show space within Comme des Garçons Marais art center.
Since launching her brand in 2017, Saunders has been named a One To Watch by the British Fashion Council, before winning the Andam Grand Prix award in 2021.
To sum up, Saunders is very much a designer of the moment, creating personal and propelling fashion ideas.
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