Clare Waight Keller’s spring-summer 2020 haute couture collection for Givenchy was rooted in her memories of visiting the garden rooms planted at Sissinghurst Castle by Vita Sackville-West and by reading the passionate love letters between Sackville-West and Virginia Woolf. “It’s one of the most romantic places in England,” Waight Keller said. “I’m quite obsessed by the place.” Famously it was Woolf’s involvement with Sackville-West and dreaming through the Elizabethan history of the Sackville-West family house that inspired Woolf to write her time- and gender-traversing novel Orlando. Coming back to the collection: Waight Keller once again proved her strengths in tailoring. But what truly stunned the audience were the summer-garden colors and swirling 3D-petal forms of dresses. For the designer, it was “my own love letter to Hubert de Givenchy because I went into the archive for this collection and looked into the history of the house from the very beginning.” Photographs of the pristine flower-lace gowns he made in the era he designed for Audrey Hepburn were pinned to her inspiration board. Givenchy, as it happens, was dedicated to garden design too. The outside edges of the jacket of a neat black pantsuit were implanted with a halo of gypsophila embroidery – this one looked incredible. There was a bit of “couture” casual: multilayered tulle petal-pink skirt overlaid with Chantilly lace was worn with a sheer black T-shirt. Waight Keller finished up her show by sending out Kaia Gerber as the ultimate fantasy bride in an off-the-shoulder cut-lace white chemise and umbrella hat that swooped back over the shoulders, amplifying the volume of the entire look.
Collage by Edward Kanarecki.