Givenchy: Oscar winners' looks worthy of a maharaja
It is always darned difficult to predict who will wear what to the Oscars, but LA stylists should know few male movie stars will look better than in the latest menswear collection from Givenchy, with its absolutely magnificent finale.
Inspired by the Maharaja of Indore, a fabulously wealthy Indian blue-blood who after attending Oxford lived an uber-cosmopolitan lifestyle in 1930s Europe, this was truly dashing fashion. This maharaja worked with the likes of Le Corbusier, Ruhlmann, Brancusi and Eileen Gray when building a streamlined Art Moderne palace back home named Manik Bagh. He commissioned jewels from Harry Winston and Chaumet for his first wife Maharani Sanyogita. He was painted by Boutet de Monvel and immortalized in gelatin prints by Man Ray.
All that lush glamour, though with a beguiling Western twist, informed this fall winter 2020 collection. Which triumphed at the finish with a deftly cut black crepe evening redingote with red trim worn with giant collar white shirt, or next, a brilliantly draped crossover white gilet. Both worn with tummy-high black tuxedo pants finished with built-in, zippered grosgrain cummerbunds. Best of all, a stand-out double-breasted evening coat, finished with a cluster of jade and bugle beads, a rock god at his best. All together, Bombay to Paris menswear couture ideal for Hollywood in a month’s time.
Throughout, jackets were finished with large jeweled safety pins or medallions. Nearly every look was anchored by metal, squared-toed western boots and topped by big ten gallon hats. For day, the houseʼs creative director Clare Waight Keller cut with aplomb, from the super sharp black serge DB suits to the stunning tweedy DB town-coat, finished with chauffeurs boots. Staging the show with its marvelously hirsute cast inside the salons of Givenchy on avenue George V - not far from the Maharaja’s old Paris haunts.
Though after the death of his first wife at a the age of 23, he ended up marrying not but two America divorcees, and spending time Los Angeles. Archive photos show him hanging out on the set of The Plainsman with Gary Cooper, at the time Hollywood’s most elegant leading man.
˝The Maharaja had an incredible dynamic of moving through different cultures in life. And that speaks to the way we should live today. His opulence is really triggered into the couture finale,˝ explained Waight Keller, who was inspired by an exhibition on the Indian blue blood in the Decorative Arts Museum in Paris.
Even the soundtrack caught the mood perfectly, starting with Raga Mishra Bhairavi and some sitar-driven art pop and ending with Charlotte Gainsbourg heavy fuzzy rock cut Pleasant.
˝It was remarkable how his life evolved from this incredible opulence and regality into this almost the life of a drifter. He met a girl from LA, and he decided to come through Paris, he hooked up with Man Ray who did these exquisite portraits. And he started to embrace a Western style of life, but without leaving behind the beauty of what he had before. So, he began to curate and customize his own look, an eastern eye on western tailoring and mixing it with his amazing jewelry,˝ concluded the couturier, who next Tuesday will stage Givenchy haute couture. Making her the only British-born designer to stage runway shows for menswear, women’s ready-to-wear and couture.
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