Couture Fashion Week Report: Riccardo Tisci for Givenchy

26 January 2011

Riccardo Tisci’s couture collection for Givenchy is the kind of fashion fantasy I would happily live in. Shown, not on a runway but in a lavish, but empty, mansion on Place Vendome (next door to The Ritz, Hotel), it is shown as a static exhibition. You get to walk around and right up to the pieces which are suspended mid air like they are about to take off back to the fashion heaven whence they came.
The advantage of this is you get right up to the clothes, and get a full 360 degree view if you want, at the closest quarters. It’s only with your nose pressed right up to one of the gowns that you realize what you thought was velvet is actually milllions of tiny sequins applied to silk tulle. Or what could easily have been leather is actually layers of laser cut organza.

This is what couture is all about: hundreds of hours of work by human hands that defy logic and understanding. How are individual strands of leather, no wider than 2 milimetres fashioned to create the sculpted affect that looks like Japanese armour but is as light as silk. How are pearls used in such a way to make them look like embroidered froth on a shoulder. For a woman like me who can barely knit one, purl one, it’s a mind blowing thought.

The inspiration was Japanese, Kabuki and Samurai costume. But Riccardo Tisci took his audience way further than Japan, to another world entirely.

- Paula Reed in Paris


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