While you’d never call Riccardo Tisci a fussy designer, this season he brought fashion discipline to a whole new level. With inspirations coming from Givenchy archive pieces from the '60s, nuns habits and Carlo Mollino’s architecture, the vibe was uncompromising to the point of monastic.
With an organ providing the opening music, ecclesiastic references abounded. Heavily pleated cassocks in couture fabrics like radzimir, clerical dog collars in brass and leather and silver and gold cross-like frames attached to the shoulders to harness the back of the garments, created a sense of restraint and sacrifice.
While it was a very serious collection, there were several feminine flourishes. The flounce action at the beginning of the show confirms once more the importance of ruffles for S/S 2012 – as seen previously at Gucci, JW Anderson and Balenciaga and huge bishop’s sleeves also added a girlishness to several pieces.
But in the main this was a collection about rigour and skill. Take the beautiful rounded shoulders shapes, cut exquisitely to create a pristine silhouette. Or the modest tunic layers, sheer upon sheer, concealing the body. In this context dresses slashed at the rear to reveal acres of flesh felt scandalous – quite a mean feat in our over-exposed times. In terms of colour palette, aside from strict monochromes a curious powder blue was featured, once more bringing the feminine element in to play.
Certainly accomplished, subversively sexy and intensely atmospheric, Tisci once again proved his place in Paris – and his use of couture fabrics and techniques offered a pret-a-porter upgrade which was a joy to behold.