The time has come to bid adieu to Julien Macdonald, who leaves Givenchy after three years. Macdonald has not had the easiest of times in Paris. His natural inclination, as demonstrated by his eponymous London-based label, is toward a spangly, none too subtle glamour that would satisfy even the most blatantly exhibitionist starlet. Macdonald spent his time at Givenchy desperately trying to free himself from its history, dominated by the understated chic that its founder created for Audrey Hepburn in the fifties: little black dresses that tapered toward the knees, cropped-sleeve coats that shrugged over straight skirts, and sweet but sober evening dresses with one indulgence: a strapless neckline, say, or a judiciously placed bow.
Having resisted the pull of the past this long, Macdonald finally gave in and used the house's roots as inspiration for his last big blowout at Givenchy. The problem was that none of it really worked. His mix of voluminous furs, belted coats over billowing pouf skirts, and fitted cocktail dresses with frothy lingerie flourishes has already been seen elsewhere this weekand in much more convincing forms. Still, if there's anything positive about all of this, it's that Macdonald is happy to be free to concentrate on his own label. That's if the size of his smile as he took the runway at the show's finale is anything to go by.