Long Nguyen is the co-founder/style director of Flaunt.
PARIS–Light, airy, heavenly, and ethereal are usually not words used to describe a fall/winter collection, but they were the precise words to utter about the Givenchy fall 2011 haute couture by Riccardo Tisci. It was presented last night at the spacious Hôtel d’Evreux on Place Vendôme, where two models wore long white sleeveless gowns, with small pieces of lace forming floral patterns.
Each of the Givenchy couture presentations since fall 2010 have been a hard lesson in couture techniques, and this collection was no exception. The 10 looks divided into three rooms–Angels, Bird of Paradise and Clouds–were truly remarkable.
There was no overarching theme dominating the collection, like Frida Kahlo or Kazuo Ohno of season’s past. This was about how the most delicate silk and laces were stitched, cut and embroidered with special techniques. For example, the caviar beading on the white sleeveless tulle dress–with the Bird of Paradise made of metallic threads–literally came to life as if the plant leaves enveloped the body of the dress.
These Bird of Paradise embroideries recalled Mr. Tisci’s leitmotif for his men’s show last week as his work on one collection often spills over into another. It’s a single thought process that evolves with each specific situation.
Each of the long and linear dresses was strengthened by the hard couture techniques. There was a long, silk off-white dress, with a gradation of paillettes resembling 3-D scales covering the body of a fish. These referenced Mr. Tisci’s graduation collection at Central Saint Martins, where he explored different uses of the material.
Last season’s techniques–where pearls were exploded onto the fabrics–gave way to the peacock feather pattern on the bottom of a dress (that might create the illusion of randomly beaded pearls on a sheer tulle fabric). The sleeveless dress made of ostrich feathers around a leather waist belt made of goose feathers had the shape of an actual ostrich.
Without a doubt, Mr. Tisci has taken couture techniques to a severe, fetishistic level. Each component of the 10 looks were carefully separated, mounted and laid out with shoes on a wooden platform to the side. This allowed for the intricacies of making that sleeveless bolero shoulder top–hung behind a pleated silk top and curved silk skirt–to be appreciated.
When I descended the grand staircase leaving the hotel, I was reminded of watching Olympic platform or springboard diving competitions. In those meets, the divers, used to the highest degree of difficulty, produce the most aesthetically perfect dive–one linear drop into the water with no splashes. That’s what gives of score of 10, or nearly 10, from each of the judges. I would give this Givenchy Couture presentation a 9.5.
**Photos courtesy of Givenchy.