Award winning designer-turned-artistic-director, Clare Waight Keller has returned to gender binary at Givenchy. The brand announced through Women’s Wear Daily that they will be reserving a date on the Fall 2019 menswear calendar. Though Givenchy made it clear that the decision was to further Keller’s vision, they did not elaborate.
Keller’s work at the company began when she departed Chloè after six years to succeed Riccardo Tisci as artistic director of the French fashion house in 2017. Tisci reinvigorated the label with a more youthful identity that brought immense success. Keller, on the other hand, drew inspiration from the archives of Hubert de Givenchy.
The announcement follows Keller’s Spring 2019 collection, which was based entirely off of famously non-binary Swiss writer, Annemarie Schwarzenbach. Keller's shows were the first in the brand's history to be remotely gender neutral, so it makes sense that she could find inspiration in androgeny. Similar to her past collections, the menswear looks in her most recent show were fairly traditional, and few and far between. It was with the womenswear, where she drew truly inspiration from Schwarzenbach. Keller’s female models appeared to be barefaced, aside from an occasional red lip, and wore silhouettes that mimicked menswear, but with a twist— each look was tapered at the waist.
Switching from co-ed to gendered ––and switching back again –– is not uncommon. Depending on industry trends and creative direction, brand narratives are always fluctuating in this way. Given that Givenchy is a branch of the French conglomerate LVMH, the choice may have been an attempt to tap into the thriving menswear market. LVMH has demonstrated interest in menswear by rearranging their creative heads and investing in new faces like Virgil Abloh. Maybe this move will allow Keller to pay more attention to menswear, an element she has yet to master.