Givenchy Ready To Wear Fall Winter 2013 Paris

Riccardo Tisci likes nothing better then to challenge his audience. Which is a particularly good thing this season as, so far, it has been a bit underwhelming in the innovation department. But with his spring/summer 2013 show he brought some balance back to the fashion universe with a deeply personal collection that pushed fashion forward with its innovative approach to dressing.

The build up to the start of the show was pitch perfect. Upon arriving a hand written note was found on every seat. Not a message from Tisci, but rather Anthony Hegarty of Anthony and the Johnsons, who was performing live during the show. It was a call to arms. Saying that the future of our planet needed to be put in the hands of women and that they must push to the fore in this male dominated society if mother earth is to be saved.  It is a notion that surly more than a few women in the audience felt rung true as they read the words.

Then the flashbulbs began to light up the all black venue as an assemblage of stars arrived just before the show got underway. Givenchy defiantly had the coolest celebrity mix seen at a fashion show so far in Paris, which included staple front rowers Kanye West and Kim Kardashian but also Jessica Chastain, Ciara, Amanda Seyfried, Sky Ferreira and Nicole Richie. And let’s not forget the grand mother of model Natalia Vodianova – who closed the show.

The buildup had the room humming with energy and excitement even before the first outfit hit the catwalk. And when the opening model appeared, as Hegarty’s sorrowful and soulful voice filled the cavernous space, the scene became eclectic with emotion.

In the show notes the starting point of this collection is described as “The strength of gypsies meeting the romanticism of a Victorian feeling to celebrate women”. An idea that, at the start of the show in any case, was hard to pick up on. It felt more like familiar Tisci fair - the evocative collage sweatshirt paired with a sheer black skirt covered in patent dots or leather biker gear mixed with velvet. But as the collection began to unfold those two elements began to slowly reveal themselves on the runway.

Darkly romantic floral prints bloomed onto those covetable biker jackets and semi sheer skits in gypsies ruffles.  Sometimes the prints blending into Tisic’s favorite plaids for a street meets sweet dichotomy. Swirling fiery gold paisley patterned ensembles and those crafted from strips of different evocative prints showed that even if the print craze is fading, when done right, it still has a role to play in fashion.

Tisci focused a lot of attention on the waist this season. His use of padded zip up mini “sleeping bag” pieces that were worn around the waist on a number of ensembles looked like portable comfort blankets and seemed a bit tricky. On the other hand some wide elastic belts worn with luxe bomber jackets felt just right.

Those bombers were a perfect example of how Tisci has been able to incorporate some of his haute couture training into his ready-to-wear. But not just that, he is bringing it into streetwear staples. In the case of the bomber that meant part of the jacket was in its classic sleek style but, on the other side of the belt, the fabric was crafted into a textural weave.

That attention to detail could be seen everywhere in this collection, but it was the final three outfits that really sealed the deal on this stellar show. The models, their hair wrapped up in colorful pin curls, wore highly embellished boyfriend sweaters with sheer tulle fluted skirts decorated with delicate blooms along the hem and hips. They were Jessica Chastain’s favorite pieces in the collection. But she surly won’t be the only one to take a shine to these designs, or the rest of this terrific collection for that matter.

- Jessica Michault

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