Givenchy Menswear Spring Summer 2014 Paris

At the start of the Givenchy menswear show a voice on the soundtrack declared over and over a single message, “Now everything will be exactly the way you want it”.  A bold affirmation if ever there was one. And looking at the collection that followed, that statement seems to aptly underline the position designer Riccardo Tisci finds himself in at the moment.

“I really wanted to express myself, you know do something really strong,” said Tisci backstage after his show. “I wanted something ethnic and urban at the same time,” added the designer.

At this point in the print game, Tisci, has become a master of melding seemingly total incongruent elements into evocative imagery that always elicits a visceral reaction. This time the designer brought together imagery as far a field as computer motherboards, loud speakers, athletic jerseys, vintage photos of Masaï or Zulu warriors and even a dart board or two.

He mixed those motifs together with bold stripes and then proceeded to layer up his sporty “skater style” looks to further underline the connection this collection had to the African nations. As one model after another walked the runway in time with the pounding backbeat, their faces covered in fierce war paint, they progressively showed how Tisci extrapolated out on his idea of freedom, which was at the core of this collection. Besides the daring print work, Tisci also did it this via the forgiving proportions of the clothing that saw leggings paired with Bermuda shorts and wide cut tops, or suits worn with a coat tied around the waist to add a casual element to the tailoring.

And just when it felt as if the collection was starting to look a bit repetitive, with one intricately patterned outfit following the next, Tisci took a beat. Creating a pure white suit, and then one in black - just to show he could- before returning to his chosen print path.

The result was a dynamic wardrobe for a modern day urban warrior. One willing to do whatever it takes to join the Tisci tribe.

- Jessica Michault