Clare Waight Keller Chloe FinaleClare Waight Keller after her final collection for ChloéCredit: Getty Images

The surprise that accompanied the announcement that Clare Waight Keller had been appointed as the first female Artistic Director of French couture house Givenchy may have been misplaced.

The first campaign under the Waight Keller-led Givenchy is a continuation of the brooding, urban culture influenced aesthetic cultivated over the last 12 years under Riccardo Tisci’s stewardship, ending (or at least, moderating) speculation that Waight Keller might infuse Givenchy with some of the signature nostalgia-tinged, effortless bohemian femininity she established as creative director of Chloé.

WaightKellerGivenchybyStevenMeisel2Kolten Bowen and Saffron Vadher for Givenchy, photographed by Steven Meisel

Shot by Steven Meisel in black and white and entitled ‘Transformation Seduction,’ the four portraits, featuring emerging models Saffron Vadher, Meghan Roche, Elias Bouremah, and Kolton Bowen and their pet cats (also dressed in Givenchy, in the form of collars), are less concerned with the physical garments of the new Givenchy and more with an expression of the house’s identity.

Of the images, Waight Keller says “I love the simplicity of these portraits and the engaging directness of the subjects’ gaze … it evokes the bold, powerful and very graphic quality Hubert de Givenchy gave to everything he designed.”

WaightKellerGivenchybyStevenMeiselElias Bouremah and Meghan Roche for Givenchy, photographed by Steven Meisel

The models are noticeably bare in the shots, half-covered in either lace or a pair of tuxedo pants, a style which Waight Keller attributes to Hubert de Givenchy who envisaged his woman as someone who “has an extraordinary flair for looking dressed with practically nothing.”

In this modern embodiment, the hallmarks of a Givenchy woman are one and the same as the Givenchy man, for whom Waight Keller will also be designing. The co-ed collections championed by Tisci, whose selling power equaled their female counterpart, will continue in Givenchy’s Spring/Summer 2018 collection.

And while this simplicity only emphasizes the enigmatic aura surrounding Waight Keller’s debut collection for the house at Paris Fashion Week in October, it’s a surefire sign of the quiet confidence with which the collection is being built. We at GRAZIA, for one, can’t wait.

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