Those who thought the pileup of luxury cars smoking at the center of the Givenchy catwalk were one more reference to designer Riccardo Tisci’s love of the street and his incorporation of urban style into his ready to wear collections could not have been more wrong.
It was actually a metaphor for a cultural pile up. Where traditional Asian dress clashed, or should that be crashed, into that of Africa. “It was really my obsession with the two cultures I really like most- Japan and Africa. So basically the elements of African people, the colors and the draping, and the delicate feeling of Japan,” said Tisci backstage after his show surrounded by well wishers like Kanye West and (a honey blond) Kim Kardashian.
And this show was quite a smash.
Everything about this collection felt more grown up. Tisci traded in the street for sophistication. Each of the stretch jersey Masai-esque dresses that the designer twisted and turned about the body in a myriad of different ways- looping, crossing, draping so that different sections of the models body’s were left exposed - was more beautiful than the last.
The addition of sequins to textural striped lace versions upped the flash factor a bit, and the final group of pleated dresses that were coated in sequins that exposed a rainbow of more colorful sequins between the folds were real showstoppers. They also brought to mind the work of Brazilian designer Tufi Duek. So maybe Tisci was looking more far a field then just Japan and Africa.
Not only did the designer step off the street he also replaced his rebellious attitude with one of quite strength. A strength that only comes from someone who has nothing left to prove to anyone but himself. It’s a trait that samurai warriors certainly had. And the multi layer kimono jackets in the show certainly conveyed that strength with their matte and shine mélange that accented the complexly of each piece’s construction.
Some of the flat sandal wearing models might have had their faced obscured by colorful crystal “masks” – each stone applied to the face by the phenomenal Pat McGrath- but there was no way to disguise Tisci’s expanding talents.