NEW YORK--Givenchy's new age will continue into the next century. Alexander McQueen, in town last week for the shooting of the house's fall ad campaign by Steven Meisel, confirmed that he signed a new three-year contract that will run through the fall/winter 2001 ready-to-wear season. His current contract would have expired with spring '99 ready-to-wear. In less than two years, McQueen has totally recreated the house of Givenchy, banishing all traces of Hubert-esque discretion. That went out the window with McQueen's debut effort--his Golden Fleece couture collection for spring '97 that thrust Jason and the Argonauts into Tough Chic mode. Since that time, McQueen has flaunted his Saville Row talents with edgy British bravado. Recently, however, he has acknowledged the need to temper his often-controversial styling. "The first two years have been a learning process," McQueen said on Friday. "The next few years, things can only get better," he said. "What I want to do now is try to work on the commercial side and clean up the image so that it is much more readable to the general public--to make it work." Yet McQueen maintains that moving in a more commercial direction will not compromise his personal design aesthetic. "I haven't compromised," he said. "My challenge is to keep the house alive without losing my integrity as a designer." These days, McQueen talks about playing to the needs of the Givenchy customer, a woman in the market for what he calls "good, clean Parisian chic." Asked whether he has delivered that at Givenchy, McQueen voiced a confident yes, with a caveat: "Parisian chic--with mayhem."
A Stella McCartney sketch of a custom dress made from protein-based silk in partnership with biotech lab Bolt Threads. The dress will be displayed at The Museum of Modern Art's upcoming design exhibition, "Items: Is Fashion Modern?"