I seem to have this on-again/off-again thing going with Riccardo Tisci’s take on all things Givenchy. This season we’re on, more or less, which is nice given I really didn’t think too much of what he did for spring/summer. Save your money and shop the fall line. There are some really nice pieces here, especially if you’re looking for black eveningwear. In fact, if you’re shopping Givenchy you’d best be looking for eveningwear because there’s really nothing in this collection that one is going to want to wear before 5 PM. I’m totally okay with that.
There are some incredible details that in some cases one needs to be really close to appreciate. Color on color brocade, for example, is the best part of some of the early black pieces and continues making brief appearances throughout the collection. Decorative lace cutouts, that weren’t mentioned as being laser cut but I’m going to assume they were just because of the intricacy involved, deliver the level of class and elegance for which the Givenchy label has long been known but could be easily overlooked through all the hype. There was one pair of red on black striped pants that, paired with an interesting revision of a tux jacket with tails, looks just a bit like the outfit of a super-mod circus ringmaster, but still manages to not look too campy.
Oh, it gets so much better! Corset-like waist cinchers built into some coats and dresses provide a very feminine shape, increasing the glamor appeal. Peacock prints that are ruffled, rifled, and gathered so that they almost hang across the shoulder in diagonal fashion are a delight to watch on the runway. Then, there’s a technique he uses where one shoulder of a dress will be lace while the other is opaque, with ribbon running from collar to sleeve in such a way as to infer layering, but it’s all one piece. This is absolutely brilliant design work anyway one chooses to slice it.
So good were the clothes in this Givenchy collection that I almost hate even mentioning the spectacle of the runway, but if you look at the pictures at all you’re going to ask why I didn’t say something. First, Tisci abandoned his traditional straight runway, opting for a very circuitous route that involved models walking across concrete floors from one carpeted pedestal to the next, with the occasional red-carpeted ramp tossed in. I’ve no idea how long the actual walking distance was, but it took models a good three minutes or more to make their way through the maze. Positioned in the middle and behind the seats were all manner of what were politely being referred as “old school” electronics.
Positioned in the middle and behind the seats were all manner of what were politely being referred as “old school” electronics. Let’s be honest, on the technological scale these pieces were antiques; old boom boxes, televisions with huge tubes, pinball machines, and even an original style pac man game.
Finally, we have to talk about the stuff on the model’s faces. All of my alternative-minded acquaintances are going to want the clip-on jeweled mustaches that everyone was wearing. Talk about a formal hipster look, this would be it. Add to that the pearl-based ovals glued in most cases on each cheek and under each eye, with occasional additional pieces placed elsewhere. Combine that with hair matted down tight to the head and this may be one of the most facial looks we’ve seen all season. It’s all very … distracting.
And that is why I mentioned the clothes first. If Tisci makes an error here it is that the spectacle of the show totally diminished how wonderful the clothes actually are. Some in the PR world would argue that such spectacle is an intelligent move, but that argument only holds water with a weak collection, which this isn’t.
Ignore the spectacle. Look at the clothes. They are well worth your attention and praise for Riccardo Tisci.