Too many things too many people

Trying to please too many people is never a great idea, especially when staging a big fashion show in Paris. Appealing to many audiences was at the heart of a creative yet confusing collection from the house of Givenchy presented Wednesday afternoon.

Givenchy – Fall-Winter2023 – 2024 – Menswear – France – Paris – © ImaxTree

There was a great sense of expectation before the first model hit the all-white catwalk inside a giant black box built behind Les Invalides. A squadron of K Pop stars swanned around posing surlily for street photographers and even more minor league influencers.
Givenchy’s Matthew Williams is unquestionably a talented designer. He cut some great suits and jackets – whether with sharp shoulders, nipped waists and single buttons, or even better, several perfect peak lapel matinee idol tuxedos at the finale.

Plus, he sent out some tremendous coats, from enveloping gentleman herringbone coats, nubby cashmere double breasted looks to faux fur Texas Panhandle wildcatter who just struck rich coats. Made in greys, beiges, anthracite and the deepest purple they all looked great, even if oddly paired with leather shorts dissected by zips and anchored by boots or leather wellingtons. Add in faded hoodies, plaid grunge shirts and chunky knits and many ensembles looked rather heavy.

Givenchy – Fall-Winter2023 – 2024 – Menswear – France – Paris – © ImaxTree

Williams’ take on sartorial street was also erratic. He cut some great faded leather wide-leg pants, worn over the thick tractor tire soled boots that are the footwear of the season. 
But combining his pants with oversized shorts, hoodies and woollen tanks the result was all just too much. Quite why anyone would buy a bunch of expensive clothes from a pricey Paris couture marque like Givenchy in order to end up looking like an unemployed New York bike messenger was hard to comprehend.
Like Williams, his predecessors were a talented bunch, several of the exceptional geniuses: John Galliano, Alexander McQueen, Julien Macdonald, Riccardo Tisci and Clare Waight Keller. But each had pretty, radically divergent fashion visions, and the end result is that Givenchy has become a faintly schizophrenic brand.

Givenchy – Fall-Winter2023 – 2024 – Menswear – France – Paris – © ImaxTree

In effect, 27 years after le grand Hubert de Givenchy retired it’s hard to know what exactly Givenchy stands for? What is its DNA? Judging from this collection, the DNA has largely interpreted Tisci’s Givenchy, perhaps because he had the longest reign.
But the net result is altogether an unbalanced mash-up of street, sex, sullen styling and faux sophistication. Not quite Hubert.

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