Fashionista contributor Long Nguyen is the co-founder/style director of Flaunt.
PARIS--Riccardo Tisci’s debut showing at Givenchy was in October 2005. His first few collections were widely criticized a lack of a single direction: This often resulted in his confusing shows and clothes.
Consider Fall 2008’s reworked American western-wear, mixed with elements of goth and bondage. They may have been smart elements, but the mixture was hard to digest. Not so Sunday night in the main hall at the Palais de Tokyo, where he showed to a small audience.
The pillars had been temporarily covered with large green tropical leaves and purple orchids, and the clothes featured a panther print motif, woven like a bloodline that pumped through this high-energy show.
The panther print was shown in various incarnations. The opening look featured a pinup silhouette on a sweatshirt and lots of leg. Indeed, there were no pants in the entire lineup of 43 looks, only knee-length pencil skirts—some with sheer panels revealing a few extra inches of thighs and hips—which gave the show a more feminine bent. I'm sure that at the stores in the fall there will be pants for customers to purchase to pair with the black boxy satin single-breasted jacket and black satin shirt, shown with a panther print skirt as a tailored daywear look. The animal prints reminded me of the Rottweiler textile made for the outstanding men’s collection shown in January.
One of my favorite looks was the black cotton sweatshirt with a sheer organza front, revealing a black bra and velvet and organza double-layered skirt. It was this look, amongst other styles--a black fur baseball jacket, a black embroidered sweatshirt, a black velvet knee length skirt, a black velvet tutu-- that earn Mr. Tisci respect far beyond the limited confines of high fashion.
In other words, he has street credibility. Just look at the purple print sheer sweatshirt and skirt worn by Karen Elson. To be fair, some of the more ornate prints towards the end of the show looked awkward. They don’t seem to belong among the the delicate outlines of the panther and the flowers.
As the fourth designer in succession since Mr. Hubert de Givenchy relinquished his role in 1996 and the one holding this position the longest, Mr. Tisci has pretty much erased the vestiges of the Givenchy tradition and re-made the brand according to his own vision. Hardly anyone today even remembers or mentions the name or conjures the image of Audrey Hepburn, once the ambassador of Givenchy in its heyday.
Yet there are plenty of younger women who would find ways to incorporate many of Mr. Tisci’s fall proposals into their wardrobe, such as a patent leather or silk satin print baseball jacket. Or she can choose that dark purple mohair sweater with the circular purple and white orchids to wear with her faded jeans. That’s how many younger women wear designer clothes nowadays, as the notion of making a collection for a particular woman is increasingly obsolete.
**Photos by Imaxtree.