Clare Waight Keller has a lot to prove when she was appointed Creative Director at Givenchy, succeeding Riccardo Tisci. Tisci, who led the house for 15 years with his renowned dark/sexy aesthetic, was adored by many A-listers who became true Givenchy fans. Under Tisci, Givenchy campaigns were star-studded, featuring the likes of Kardashian-Wests, Rihanna and even rival designer/good friend Donatella Versace.
Keller, who was previously helming Chloé, is clearly taking a different direction. For her first Givenchy campaign, fall 2017, the designer features four rather obscure models – Megan Roche, Kolton Bowen, Saffron Vadher and Elias Bouremah – and black cats. Titled “Transformation Seduction”, the black-and-white campaign is shot by Steven Meisel. Quoting The New York Times, the campaign is “a nod to the clichés of French fashion heritage, with smudged mascara.” The choice of using both male and female models in the campaign is a prelude to Keller’s genderless show at Paris Fashion Week this fall. Then, Givenchy will be the first LVMH brand to do so.
To me, Givenchy is a world where women and men alike are strong, stoic and mysterious,” she told The New York Times of the campaign. “They own their power, and share it equally.”
Although the imagery retains Givenchy’s signature sexy, it is notably more subtle. Vadher wears a sheer lace top, with no pants in sight. Bouremah is lounging in black pants, shirtless. The cats, unmissably, don Givenchy collars. The cats are not just there for the sake of being there, rather an homage to Hubert de Givenchy’s collection from the 1953.