It was the show to end all shows. Except that it kicked off New York Fashion Week proper last night in the most spectacular setting possible and on the most consecrative date, September 11.
As the sun set on Freedom Tower and the Hudson River Park venue, where a set had been built from recycled materials, Givenchy hosted a performance dedicated to ‘love and sharing’. Not just for the usual clique of fashion professionals and celebrities (notable was Kim and Kanye’s sunset entrance), but more than 800 members of the fashion-loving public and fashion-school students had also been invited to witness the biggest show to hit New York since Alexander McQueen came stateside with his spring/summer 00 show. Givenchy had also erected giant screens across the city, from Soho to Times Square, which broadcast the show live.
‘This event,’ said the performance artist Marina Abramović, who had collaborated on the event with Givenchy’s artistic director Riccardo Tisci, ‘is about forgiveness, inclusivity, new life, hope and, above all, love.’ So the music took the form of haunting religious chants, and high up on plinths performers wrapped their arms around each other. It was emotional stuff.
And then came the clothes. Lest we forget that this was a fashion show timed to coincide with the opening of a new boutique on Madison Avenue. All in black and white, Tisci’s collection called to mind a wedding, albeit deconstructed to within an inch of its life. Couture collided with ready-to-wear and menswear, demonstrating the designer’s ability to switch seamlessly from haute to street. From the dreamily romantic dresses scissored in panels of lace to the elegant satin dressing-gown coats, wide pants and waistcoats, Tisci reprised his familiar male-female, strong-fragile themes. Reconfiguring some of his own archives – from his earliest collections when tailcoats and pinstripes presided, to last season’s Chola girls – it all felt like a fitting way to celebrate his 10 years at Givenchy.
There were too many 'wow' moments to mention, but when Tisci’s friend, Mariacarla Boscono opened the show in a white lace camisole and wide black pants trailing ribbons, or when Joan Smalls took to the stage in a black strapless gown that exploded with ruffled pom-poms, there were collective ‘oohs’ and ‘ahhhs’.
The Givenchy collection offered everything you could possibly want from the haute Parisian fashion house, but it also sharply highlighted what is so often missing from New York Fashion Week: it moved you, beyond fashion and boutiques. Needless to say, this will be the most memorable fashion moment of the week.
1) The satin dressing-gown coat – copies of which are (inevitably) being made right now.
2) The lace camisole – dig out your negligés, ladies.
3) The waistcoat – the boy-girl thing is here to stay.
Photos by iMAXTREE