Hubert de Givenchy was one of the first celebrity designers. His affiliation with Audrey Hepburn, whom he famously dressed for her role in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, made his name and hers. Clare Waight Keller, who inherited the house of Givenchy last year after a long line of male interpreters—Galliano, McQueen, Macdonald, Tisci—is undoubtedly the biggest celebrity designer of 2018. She dressed Meghan Markle on the day of her wedding to Prince Harry—much to the astonishment and delight of most fashion watchers. Waight Keller’s name rarely came up in the pre-wedding chatter, but the gown was roundly championed as an elegant, independent choice.

That gave the Givenchy AW 2018 Couture show in the garden of Paris’s Archives Nationales a frisson of synchronicity. Waight Keller paid tribute to Givenchy, who died in February this year. She is the first creative director at the house to honour his legacy, a gesture that’s at once respectful and humble, as well as brave: To look back is to risk getting stuck there. Waight Keller insisted on the project. “Having met him, and the fact that he passed three months ago, he felt very present in my mind; his legacy felt like something that needed to be celebrated,” she said backstage. “Everybody knows his work with Audrey. But less so the capes, the peekaboos, the architecture, the flou… It was a wonderful trip for me to discover it and reinterpret it my way.”


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