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Givenchy’s Chic Sorcery

Godfrey Deeny
October 05th, 2010 @ 00:30 AM - Paris

A devilishly wicked and elegant collection, a posh gothic moment and a diabolical soundtrack were the most prominent memories of the latest Givenchy runway show, staged Sunday night, Oct. 3, in Paris.

Givenchy creative director Riccardo Tisci’s intentions were clear from the opening look, when he sent out the world’s number one catwalk model, Russian Natasha Poly, in a long, dark black wig with blood red lipstick, wearing pencil pants and a layered top of chiffon, mini leather bomber jacket and white gentleman’s vest - all very "Eyes Wide Shut," sorceress chic.

Before a front row of Justin Timberlake and Courtney Love, out of the speakers blared a mega volume remix of King Night’s diabolical “Salem,” as the models marched by in armies of the night black leather jackets in erratic padding, ribbed corsets with lots of see-through panels or deep gorge leopard print shirts in chiffon. The mood was hyper elegant, yet also threatening. The models were high-powered temptresses – slinky and seductive.

Tisci is such a great tailor and cutter that the whole show looked super new. Take a series of breastplate tops held on with multiple straps and done in shards and flower twists of tulle – ideal for an editorial, awards ceremony or just very chic dining.

One of his favorite skills, careful button placement, was evident in the way metal badges, knobs and pins were patterned into the shapes of crosses in many looks.

In terms of staging, the show was not a triumph – the awkward catwalk, the juxtaposition between the clothes’ dark glory and the high-school gym show-space clanged – and never quite took off.

Made mostly in black, flesh and leopard, the collection climaxed with Poly, in a second passage, wearing a remarkable faux leopard coat where the pattern was outlined by mini chains. Rarefied, demanding on most women’s bodies and defiantly elitist, Givenchy under Tisci is not an obvious fashion recipe for many women. But the designer’s singular vision and stubborn attachment to it makes his collections top ten events – as this spring 2011 show was. In a word, more troubling than triumphant, but still pretty brilliant.

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