The French house’s first California location is an ephemeral space on Rodeo Drive
Words by ELIZABETH VARNELL
Until now, Givenchy — despite pioneering the starlet-as-muse concept — has never had a Los Angeles boutique. Beginning this month, the full array of the French house’s ready-to-wear for women and men, alongside its extensive accessories collections, fills a new 6,500-square-foot ephemeral space in Beverly Hills. Givenchy’s arrival seems particularly fitting given creative director Matthew M. Williams’ California roots inspiring his modern evening wear and trademark denim that nods to the American West’s pioneering role in dungaree design. Williams’ sharp tailoring for fall also fills the minimalist space beside distinctive metal ladders and poles that reflect the metal hardware of his bags and shoes.
In addition to his recently launched pearly pink designs from the Riviera-inspired Plage capsule, the Pismo beach–raised creative has filled the new shop with his version of Shark Lock boots (taking on a very Western bent) and angular Voyou bags that blend aspects of American biker aesthetic (motorcycle clubs have long been prominent along Pacific Coast Highway and the region’s most-traveled roads) with the house’s elegant French style codes.
The temporary boutique’s mirrored interiors include sculptures, created in collaboration with British artist Ewan Macfarlane, of human bodies that climb, reach, and lean in arresting positions and poses. Limbs are contorted; bald figures are crouching, balancing, thinking — all while attired in Givenchy dresses, suits, and shoes. At certain angles, the poses even evoke a bit of Williams’ skater youth or the moment when a strobe illuminates a dancer inside the clubs and roving parties of his DJ days with Virgil Abloh and Heron Preston. Strikingly unsettling combinations of heads and arms merge art and fashion while displaying the French house’s jewelry. Sharp and soft angles coexist amid a space that contains a mix of industrial and natural materials.
Williams also teamed up with Macfarlane for his personal 1017 Alyx 9SM brand, and the sculptures the two have produced for Givenchy have a slightly quieter appeal but still retain the eye-catching qualities of Macfarlane’s more boundary-pushing work. The bold blend of fine art and fashion is sure to expand in the French house’s permanent L.A. boutique slated to open next year. 413 N. Rodeo Dr., Beverly Hills; givenchy.com.
July 5, 2023.
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