It was back to the basics at the Givenchy menswear show on Friday night. Designer Riccardo Tisci sent out a collection that bucked the season’s trend towards relaxed loungewear silhouettes and fluid fabrics for a lineup of streetwear meets military hardened hybrid designs crafted in graphic blacks and whites.
The models, both male and female, walked the circular catwalk with a ferocity and singularity of purpose that if spotted out in the real world a smart city dweller would stay well clear of their chosen path. They rounded a striking center sculpture by the artist Paul Veroude. A four passenger private airplane that was suspended in mid air and pulled apart like some sort of industrial dissection.
Dissected too was this collection. Pulling from past seasons, the theme of bands of fabric and the power of the line were once again explored on the catwalk. They showed up both as three dimensional swathes of fabric bisecting a top or delineating the bra line on a fitted mini dress and in the two dimensional variety. Those came in the form of “x marks the spot” crossed lines on shirts or bands of a contrasting color on bomber coats, paneled pants or sporty nylon jackets that brought to mind the reflective tape used on a hazard vest. The inclusion of oversized plastic zippers and pull tab accents on closures, as well as an abundance of utility pockets on wide cut shorts and pants, highlighted the military aspect of the show.
Interestingly Tisci cut a number of his sharply crafted designs in floral motifs of different sizes. Usually the introduction of something so closely associated with femininity would dilute the masculine force of a garment. Not in the hands of this designer. Again by limiting the print to shades of black and white those flowers became a modern day camouflage. It was almost an ironic twist on the whole passive resistance flower power movement of the 1970s. Even at the end of the show, when the designer sent out those same floral patterns with three dimensional embroidery and white pearl embellishments, they remained steadfastly virile.
In the end, this collection wasn’t a lineup that so much drove the menswear conversation this season as it offered up new variables of accepted Givenchy codes.