Haute Couture Autumn/Winter 2011: Givenchy

Angels Meet Birds of Paradise was the name for  Givenchy‘s Autumn/Winter 2011 haute couture collection and it was simply magic. Containing only 10 pieces, the ivory and gold gowns stood out as individual master pieces. Instead of going for the conventional approach of a catwalk and models, Riccardo Tisci instead suspended the dresses from the ceilings in the 3 rooms at Place Vendôme. The venue was a clever choice (Place Vendôme is the centre of Jewellery in Paris)  as the dresses hung like exquisite jewels, able to be admired individually.

All of the clothes were made by hand and the collection had an  heavenly/old-world theme, going back to the days when the couturier made dresses to order for each customer. With the dresses being given a name like “tears of angels” and “bird of paradise”. Riccardo’s use of silk, tulle, Chantilly and cotton macramé lace, beads and pearls showed off his expertise and talent (and also that of Givenchy’s embroiderers)  and with one piece taking over a month to make, it also makes this collection the most labour intensive and time consuming ever.

In particular,  the bird of paradise dress featured a an iridescent bead embroidered bird of paradise and was made with real gold thread. The embellishment on the dress alone took 2000 hours and the clutch that accompanied it featured a waterfall of the same beads. Another turtle-necked gown included tulle circles, sewn on to represent the scales of a mermaid, were layered 32 inches deep. The level of detail that went into the extravagant gowns is mind-blowing.

Perhaps we will see a similar version of one of these angelic creations at the next Royal wedding?

Video: Givenchy Haute Couture Autumn/Winter 2011

Katie Hill loves writing about fashion from all over the world. A self-confessed shopaholic, she is always seeking out the lastest news and newest trends.