Riccardo Tisci brought out an array of his design signatures for the house of Givenchy this season. The most defining characteristic of the collection was the Egyptian references – some overt, and most much less so. But the thing to keep in mind is that this was Tisci’s 10th year with the house. It must have been daunting for the then-unknown Italian who had to succeed John Galliano, Lee McQueen, and Julien McDonald. One must remember that before he became the arbiter of cool and the pioneer of merging street, luxury and high fashion, Tisci was lambasted from every side possible for his designs at Givenchy.
But what he was doing was brand-building. The kind that takes years and years, and that sees long-term planning according to the old-school luxury timeline. It wasn’t a development for a man on a three-year contract who would plan to just up and leave, which was why rumors of Tisci jumping ship whenever the fashion musical chairs rolled around had trouble convincing me. Anyway, Givenchy’s once-fractured brand identity is today synonymous with highbrow streetwear, rendered almost always with a dark romanticism (Tisci hates the word “gothic” applied to him, however apt it is), and best-selling sweatshirts.
Here, he played up his less-credited and talked-about strength – couture. I use the word “couture” here loosely to illustrate the appreciation of line, silhouette, construction and fabric that Tisci has gained from designing haute couture for the house. Though the brand is off the official Chambre Syndicale schedule, it continues to be a go-to for a glut of celebrities needing to wow on the red carpet (Beyoncé, for one, loves herself a good custom Givenchy gown) and a clientele one would imagine being much younger than most couture houses.
In the opening look, for instance, a coat with military regiment details was worn over a metallic leather cropped zip-up top with cummerbund-esque details, the model’s hand in a pocket of a simple skirt, worn over high boots and pumps. The line here was classic Tisci. Tastefully embellished and cut flatteringly slender and long. In another look worn by Julia Nobis, a cropped shearling jacket was paired with a snakeskin dress, cut in the style of a safari dress – cargo pockets and all. The combination of the utility and urban stylings of a cargo silhouette with the couture-level skill of hand at making snakeskin look as soft as nappa – this was Tisci at his best.
This article was first published in L’Officiel Singapore.