Long Nguyen is the co-founder and style director of Flaunt. PARIS--Is Riccardo Tisci finally going back to Givenchy's roots?
Since the start of his tenure at Givenchy more than seven years ago, Tisci has looked to his own design methodology and aesthetic sensibility rather than tapping into the heritage of the house. He's almost managed to erase memories of those pretty, couture clothes often associated with Audrey Hepburn instead of using elements of Givenchy's DNA to instill the collections with a sense of history. Tisci’s romantic Goth sensibilities and deep religious themes at times feel too experimental for a major fashion house. But for the collection he showed on Sunday at the Lycée Carnot, purity and neo-classicism--words not usually associated with Tisci’s aesthetic--were the descriptors that came to mind. The live music, coming from a giant wooden organ that was the center of the set, heralded a procession of 60’s-inspired lean couture shapes, some inspired by the Givenchy archive--like the ice blue and black frocks with rigid ruffles curving around the side of the body. Tisci’s longtime obsession with the stiff garments of nuns was still evident, though, on a black double-breasted suit worn with a white leather and plexi glass necklace. The lines were softened by the use of couture fabrics like duchesse satin, moire, and of course, lace. Throughout the show Tisci’s masculine-feminine tension played out, like on a loose asymmetrical skirt paired with cigarette pants. The juxtaposition of soft and hard fabrics called to mind some elements of Tisci's men’s collections--in particular the strong, sensual show he presented last June. Given his proclivities for experimentation, this was Tisci’s safest collection so far for Givenchy. Surely the series of drop shoulder sleeveless double-breasted jackets worn with pencil pants served both fashion and commercial requirements.
At a time when heritage is playing such a crucial role at competing brands like Dior and the new Saint Laurent, it probably was the right time for Tisci to explore Givenchy's history, something he has been reluctant to do so far. But we're pretty sure Tisci will continue to experiment; he knows too well that while taking risks may not always pay off, playing it safe all the time certainly won't either.