Riccardo Tisci and Givenchy's new purity
Asked to sum up his collection in three words, Riccardo Tisci said: ‘Sensual. Pure. Tough.’
True. The power-goth of former seasons had evaporated, leaving a trace of toughness, for sure, but a toughness that was refined and mature. Even his own look had evolved, a more clean-cut Riccardo stood backstage greeting a long line of fans that included Kanye West, Natalia Vodianova and Erin Wasson.
So how did he arrive at such a serene vision? ‘Well, you know I’m obsessed with nuns,’ he said. This is why a church organ had been shipped in to play those opening bars, giving a ceremonial mood to the Lycee Carnot where huge cubes of mirrored glass stood.
His passion for the ecclesiastical was also there in the clothes. In the slender cape-backed dresses and the spare tailoring where skirt-trousers (trousers with a skirt flap front and back) recalled priestly vestments. And it was there in the stringent black and white colour palette and the silver dog collars that clasped every model’s neck.
But the overall effect was purity. This collection was lighter and cleaner than anything he’s ever done for Givenchy. Take the ice blue dress he opened with – a single, wave of a ruffle that curved around the neck before tumbling down one arm, or the waves of chiffon ruffles on a tunic worn over strict black pants, or an ice blue skirt with a rippling train. Everything was fastened with strips of metal, but still, this was feminine stuff. It also had a whiff of the house’s grand heritage, too, which was surprising because Mr Tisci has never been one to look back.
‘I wanted to respect the house. It’s been eight years,’ he said, as if enough time had elapsed before he could take a look. It was the 1960s archive that had really turned him on, he said, unsurprisingly, given these spare, refined pieces.
It was exciting to see a designer hit such clarity of vision in his best yet show.