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Givenchy’s Contemporary Cool

Godfrey Deeny
March 08th, 2010 @ 10:25 AM - Paris

Between the big four fashion capitals, there are some 600 runway shows spread over four weeks, ending in Paris this week. But one could hazard the guess that the collection considered the most contemporary of all will be the one by Givenchy, shown in Paris in the gymnasium of a posh public high school on Sunday, March 7.

By “contemporary,” this means clothes that capture the mood of the times, yet also take us several steps further visually. This fall 2010 Givenchy collection by designer Riccardo Tisci did precisely that, by presenting a smart visual vernacular that was all about edgy class, and by creating a tough chic that was also poetic.

Typifying the stylish toughness was the glistening red lipstick that all the models sported, the same sparkling hue used in red gloves or clutch bags covered in clusters of beading and crystals.

Tisci began cautiously, showing the colors and cut that would define the collection: a colonel’s beige coat, cut as a dress and worn over black tights with the aforementioned red accessories or a beautiful negligee dress in red and silvery white lace worn with red tights and laced boots, both of which had great arty raciness.

Then he really broke into new ground with futurist après-ski sweaters that gradually morphed into racy tops when mixed with lace. His nattiest ideas were mixing these with neoprene pants, with high waists and open front zip, adding zest to a collection that the designer said was inspired by skiing and scuba diving.

The designer also knows how to accessorize his fashion with great complimentary shoes, like lace up felt booties that were, once again, tough and poetic.

“I felt it was time, after my five years at this house, for a new direction. These clothes are meant to capture the heights reached in skiing with the sense of nature up close you get diving,” said Tisci, who goes scuba diving annually, most recently off Egypt, in the Red Sea.

Tisci’s other great is strength is his ability to mix fabrics and finishes to create something new like juxtaposing feathers, leather, see-through lycra, neoprene and velvet, often in the same look, such as the velvet, jacquard and marabou feather cocktails that climaxed this show.

Underlining Tisci’s growing reputation, several other designers – Peter Dundas and Alexander Wang – turned up to pay homage to the Italian couturier. Like the audience of 600 at this show, they gave Tisci a long hearty applause at he took his bow.

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