Paris Fashion Week Spring Summer 2012 report: Givenchy by Riccardo Tisci

03 October 2011

Riccardo Tisci is one of the names that keeps swirling around the rumour mill that whiles away idle fashion week hours. According to the gossip mongers he is or at least has been in the frame for ‘the big job’ at Dior. I sincerely hope that is not true.

He has created a new language for Givenchy: an achievement has eluded several designer who went before him (Alexander McQueen included). It hasn’t been easy to move the house that Hubert de Givenchy made, into the 21st century. But Riccardo Tisci has carved a place for it in the panoply of French luxury labels and the evolution of the image of that house from Audrey Hepburn’s favourite to something that chimes with a contemporary audience is gaining traction. And it  is such a radical re-imagining that it feels like he’s really only started.

The Givenchy couture collection is an inspirational exercise in luxury for a whole new generation. At the other end of the price scale, the shoes are hot. They haven’t quite has a smash hit with the bags yet but they are getting there. This is a project that has not reached anything like its full potential yet and its success hinges on Riccardo Tisci’s vision. He manages to describe something that has an almost rock and roll edge laced with that knowing French sizzle. But if you have followed his career you can’t help but think there is more to come. To move on now would leave a story half told.

Fashion’s great and good turned out for this show: everyone from Kanye West, the latest addition to the French fashion show calendar to Liv Tyler was there. Gisele Bundchen was the last model out and closed the show.

His Givenchy collection for winter singlehandedly made the bomber jacket cool again. The collection that we saw yesterday evening for summer 2011 seemed to be about consolidation rather than making any big new statement. It grew out of Tisci’s trademark tailoring: a mannish silhouette with a distinctly feminine underpinning. Strict tuxedo jackets layered over shirt tails and skinny stretch trousers came in powder pink or vanilla and were accessorized with huge sharktooth necklaces.

The invitation was an illustration of a mermaid and the romantic maritime theme played out in fitted stingray jackets with waterfall lapels and curvy peplums or iridescent sequins that looked scaley under the catwalk light.

Lines inspired by surfers neoprene were worked out in gauzy white layered dresses and added a sporting edge to a collection that managed to deliver an attitude that was both flirtatious and feisty.

This was a collection based on the Tisci classic. No one can tough it out in salmon pink the way he can. I am curious to see where he can take the house of Givenchy and what more he can do. Stay where you are Riccardo!

-Paula Reed in Paris


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