Givenchy Men's Spring 2012: Birds of Paradise, Love It or Hate It

Long Nguyen is the co-founder/style director of Flaunt. PARIS--At the exit of the Centre George Pompidou, otherwise known locally as the Beaubourg, there were mixed reactions to Riccardo Tisci’s spring menswear show for Givenchy. “It’s horrible and repetitive,” I heard a man said to his colleague in front of me as we reached an impasse near the photographer’s pit. “Maybe I am wrong but I completely love it,” I said softly as I turned to my companion as we raced to get to the fashion bus onto the next show. Often such wide range reactions to a collection usually means that it was a great show; a bad one won’t generate such wild opinions.
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Long Nguyen is the co-founder/style director of Flaunt. PARIS--At the exit of the Centre George Pompidou, otherwise known locally as the Beaubourg, there were mixed reactions to Riccardo Tisci’s spring menswear show for Givenchy. “It’s horrible and repetitive,” I heard a man said to his colleague in front of me as we reached an impasse near the photographer’s pit. “Maybe I am wrong but I completely love it,” I said softly as I turned to my companion as we raced to get to the fashion bus onto the next show. Often such wide range reactions to a collection usually means that it was a great show; a bad one won’t generate such wild opinions.
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Long Nguyen is the co-founder/style director of Flaunt.

PARIS--At the exit of the Centre George Pompidou, otherwise known locally as the Beaubourg, there were mixed reactions to Riccardo Tisci’s spring menswear show for Givenchy. “It’s horrible and repetitive,” I heard a man said to his colleague in front of me as we reached an impasse near the photographer’s pit. “Maybe I am wrong but I completely love it,” I said softly as I turned to my companion as we raced to get to the fashion bus onto the next show. Often such wide range reactions to a collection usually means that it was a great show; a bad one won’t generate such wild opinions.

As the first model emerged in a white tee shirt and a plain front, back pleated knee length skirt--with an explosion of a large and colorful birds of paradise print--there was perhaps a momentary sense of déja vu, thinking back to the rottweilers that pervaded the fall collection. Make no mistake: it’s not a rehash but a continuing dialogue, an evolution from Tisci’s early collections for Givenchy, which were drowned in the deep rooted religious references and gothic inspirations. Today’s exudes an energy akin to the loud rhythms of the old ‘80s hip hop soundtrack that blasted over the loudspeakers.

The previous season’s skort has surrendered to those knee length plain front skirts, this time worn with sequined sweatshirts, baseball jackets, single-breasted jackets, sweaters, and even shoulder boleros worn over white cotton shirts. The now classic single-breasted suit–in an elongated silhouette made for a tall and muscular body–came out in light green with a flesh tone cotton shirt. There was also a version in light beige worn with a white shirt and white suede sandals. I particularly liked the very simple look of a white shirt, white tie, and white pants with a sweatshirt bolero pull over covering the shoulder lines, showing the long white tie touching the belt buckle.

As the models took a turn around the diagonal set of benches, there was an element of eroticism as the back of their pleated skirts flapped against their bare knees and legs, revealing a floral print inside the folds. A few models had on floral sheer tights that just covered the knee caps.

I think now it’s safe to say that Mr. Tisci’s energy and strength comes from his work on the men’s, flowing into his women collections. This fall’s prints and colors began with last January’s outings. Exactly three years ago to the day when he showed his first men’s collection, the designer has honed each look with precision of a scientist leaving little to chance. At his men’s shows, the casting has always been as crucial as the clothes the models wore. In this respect, more than any other designer, Mr. Tisci understands--and has affinity for diversity in--the changing world around him.

**Photos by Imaxtree.