Givenchy Menswear Fall Winter 2013 Paris

 Inside a ring of fire, created by hundreds of scented candles forming two giant circles, designer Riccardo Tisci sent out a collection that was a controlled and meticulous combination of the themes that have dominated his shows at one point or another over the last five years.
 
There was that continued fascination with American sportswear, but this time he gave the photo print T-shirt idea, that he has used so successfully in the past, a much more sophisticated approach. He did this via the artist whose images he chose to reproduce, Robert Mapplethorpe, and the way he implemented them into his designs. Tisci experimented with the placement of the images, sometimes sitting low on the torso or shrunken down to a patch on a bicep and outlined in red, like a badge of honor on the chest. Using noble fabrics like cashmere, velvet, and leather was another way he upped the anti on his streetwear style. It looked particularly good when worn under a voile of semi shear fabric or embellished with a geometric collage of fabrics in contrasting textiles. A particular standout was the upside down American flag in devore velvet, which was almost couture in its execution.
 
And lets talk about couture. Without a haute couture show to channel his more fantastical ideas, the designer slotted a few into his menswear show, which was all the better for it. A duffle coat in braided leather and a series of bomber jackets and tops covered in protective quilting and lace-up stitching (think of those on in American football) were impressive in both their execution and originality.
 
As for the religious aspect to the runway show, besides the candles, that was more subtly incorporated thru the black, white, and gray color palette and the beautiful way Tisci used silver metal zippers to slice from the shoulders to the hem on a number of pieces. Highlights of which included a velvet jacket and a collarless coat cut from pitch black wool and leather. All of those zipper-embellished garments had refined Zen-like grace which ended this strong show on a note of modern elegance.

- Jessica Michault