Do yourself a favour and Google Villa Palmieri in Florence. The runway images are not going to do it justice. Sure, you can watch the live stream of the show for a glimpse of the venue, but it’s still going to fall painfully short of the grandeur and scale of this late 14th century patrician villa with its manicured gardens that was the sprawling runway for Clare Waight Keller’s first solo menswear show for Givenchy.
10-word show review: Oversized tailoring meets street punk anchored with Onitsuka Tiger sneakers.
Last season’s autumn/winter 2019 men’s collection (that was presented in the maison’s Paris showrooms) was a ‘70s inflected offering featuring belted petrol blue leather patchwork jackets and flared suits in hot punches of purple and red. Matched with hooded sweats and bulbous technical parkas, it was oh-so-very-trendy. It banked on that mélange of tailoring with streetwear that continues to rule the runway (and retail tills) yet grounded each look with serious leather boots and brogues instead of sneakers.
For spring/summer 2020, Waight Keller continued to push this interplay between bourgeois and backstreet, sending out ensembles of suits, coats and gilets layered in monochromatic shades—be it iridescent lavender, washed stone or brilliant cobalt blue—but, as a key point of difference, finished each look with sneakers. From all-white to multi-coloured, Waight Keller is giving the Givenchy man several athletic footwear options for spring/summer 2020.
But the best news? You don’t even have to wait till September. As part of the collection, Waight Keller unveiled two new sneakers in an exclusive collaboration with Onitsuka Tiger (blending couture savoir-faire with Japanese know-how) that is available for purchase in select Givenchy stores on the day after the show (that’s right, 13 June). It is the first-ever partnership for Givenchy with an outside sneaker manufacturer on a global scale and, in turn, it is also Onitsuka Tiger’s first collaboration with a luxury brand.
The Givenchy x Onitsuka Tiger collaboration features the ‘Mexico 66™ GDX’ shoe in two variations: an all-white iteration with a black tab and ‘Givenchy’ lettering accompanying the Onitsuka Tiger stripe, plus a black version with signature Givenchy red detailing on the heel.
I know what you’re thinking: are they available in Asia? Yes they are. In addition to the Givenchy store in Ocean Centre, Hong Kong, the sneakers are also now on sale in the Paragon store in sunny Singapore. Head on over stat if you want to land yourself a pair.
When it came to ready-to-wear, Waight Keller replaced the hip-hugging ‘70s silhouettes from her autumn/winter 2019 collection, with oversized tailoring doused with a techno punk edge. Stepped out to a pulsating soundtrack that incorporated the shrieks of a dial-up modem laced with French lyrics (this is Givenchy, after all) male models paraded boxy peak-lapel blazers paired with miniature trunk bags; elongated top coats worn with scarves instead of shirts; straight-cut trousers held up with chunky chain belts; and shrunken knit tops worn with perforated leather trousers. It was an ebb and flow of contrasting proportions that culminated with devastatingly chic eveningwear in the form of hand-embroidered metallic sequined jackets and coats. Hello, boys!
The overall vibe: rager at a 14th century garden. Which, in retrospect, is exactly how the night ended. Givenchy whipped out the goods post-runway, illuminating the balmy night sky with a laser light show—purple and yellow beams cutting through tall Italian Cypress trees as guests sipped from flutes of champagne on one hand, and balanced chocolate tarts in the other; all while dancing the night away under a bright Tuscan moon.
Favourite look: That wheat-coloured single-breasted suit in look 40 worn with a billowing translucent yellow hooded parka for a whole lot of drama. As overheard on the runway: “that model isn’t even that tall”. Translation: mere mortals can pull this look off with ease.
Favourite accessory: Those small top-handle trunk bags with leather corners. Another clear sign that you need to invest in an everyday small bag (top-handle, cross-body or otherwise) sooner rather than later.