Givenchy’s history is made up of a few but representative handovers that have built in their succession powerful and expressive solutions that have enabled the fashion temporalities of a brand that has lived on for seventy years to be communicated. The monograph is an opportunity to trace the creative development of the Maison’s founder and his successors, exploring their first steps and successes. It is at the same time the presentation of a timeline on which are sedimented doubts, innovations, experimentations and much research of this history still in the midst of its becoming. The 180 collections testify to a reckless level of inventiveness and a sincere ability to pamper the general public. Perfectly embodied by muse and friend Audrey Hepburn, Givenchy as early as 1952 established itself as a symbol of effortless elegance, and we cannot say that its philosophy has been betrayed over time, today in fact Matthew Williams makes this informality his statement.
“Since my childhood I have been seduced by fashion. My work has been my life. My craft was the most beautiful job I could do and that’s why I loved it so much and why I chose it from the beginning. I will never ever stop loving it, ever.”
Givenchy Sfilate is a sophisticated book that offers an unparalleled overview of all the collections through original runway photographs. After Hubert de Givenchy retired, it was John Galliano who took the reins in 1995, who, to pay homage to his predecessor, replicated the climax moment of My Fair Lady, the one in which Audrey recites the monologue “The Rain in Spain”: the black velvet wings stretched across the white catwalk, creating the same optical effect engineered by Avedon. It was a perfect way of not betraying the link with the Maison’s past and announcing its renewal, but also a procedure for incorporating theater into fashion. Galliano came before a young Alexander McQueen, who created his first haute couture collection for Givenchy. In 2001, it was Julien McDonald who brought a more glitzy and glamorous approach to the brand, such as the unforgettable Fall Winter 2001 Couture to which he gave a masculine and assertive yet sensual and light touch. His mission was precisely to establish a new commercially viable identity while maintaining a poetic link to the past.
“For me, fashion expresses a point of view where formal and informal, construction and comfort coexist. My belief lies in the luxury of infusing clothes with your personality, not being worn by them.”
More recently, it is the Italian Riccardo Tisci who has led Givenchy for twelve years in a radically contemporary direction, taking the Maison to a very high level. Tisci demonstrates an ability to make refined fashion that is always on the cutting edge, defying convention and uniting fashion forms with art and world cultures. He is followed by Clare Waight Keller and American Matthew M. Williams.
Alexandre Samson and Anders Christian Madsen, fashion critics and historians, curate Givenchy Sfilate so that the 180 collections present an opportunity for the brand’s rediscovery, and dedicate a book to all fashion enthusiasts that traces the aesthetic trajectories of years past, through many images that seemed to have been lost in the pre-digital age.
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