Givenchy Ready To Wear Spring Summer 2013 Paris
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The signs were all there. On a raised podium sat an elegant organ, it’s metal pipes gleaming, and in the air hovered a faint cloud of smoke that, once inhaled, reveled itself to be frankincense. Clearly the Givenchy show was going to be a religious experience.
 
Religion has always played a major role in Riccardo Tisci’s life. But never before has its sway over the designer been so openly expressed on his catwalk. As Tisci has become an expert at embellishments- thanks to working on the haute couture collections for the house- and he has proven himself to have a deft hand at evocative prints, the audience could be forgiven for thinking that the collection would focus on the gilded and the ornamentation aspects of the Roman Catholic Church.

Instead Tisci focused on the purest elements of priestly garbs and nun habits, and blended them with elements of the holiest of form of fashion- haute couture. The clean lines and sleek style of the house’s archival couture, from Hubert de Givenchy’s heydays in the 1960s, worked perfectly with the designer’s pious starting point. Using luxe fabrics like taffeta, duchesse satin, and radzimir Tisci sculpted ruffles that undulated along the neckline, rippled down a sleeve or replaced them completely. This play with volume also came in the form of exaggerated rounded shoulders on jackets and tops that sometimes were slit open at the sides. The addition of panels of fabrics sprouting out of the back of slim pants or trailing on the ground behind knee length skirts was a subtler way the designer changed the proportions of his ensembles.
 
The floating fabrics were pinned down by judiciously placed gold slim metal bars that were applied to the textiles at the shoulders, on the small of the back, and the hips. It was also molded into choke collars (which are now surely at the top of most fashionistas must have list) designed to evoke those worn by priests. These understated, yet hard, adornments were the perfect choice for the refined designs.
 
The show was an exquisite take on minimalism that felt both thoroughly modern and deeply personal.

- Jessica Michault

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