First things first: As a storied house with a long history of staging fashion shows, Givenchy has no excuse for the mismanagement of its door, which was as obnoxious as it was dangerous. Get someone capable to handle your front-of-house.


Now, for the clothes. While Riccardo Tisci remained true to his version of hard glamour, for fall he drew out his woman’s sophisticated side. The resulting collection was elegant and at times feminine, with a few exceptions.


Tisci’s taste tends toward the dark side — that’s nonnegotiable — and so his silhouettes exuded a sultry power that relied on strong shoulders, sculpted tailoring and stovepipe sleeves. Some looks featured just one, the other chopped off for severe asymmetry. Such elements worked well in suits in dark tweeds and solids with leather sleeves, exaggerated collars and structured peplums cut into layered curves, made all the more effective yet softer when spliced with dramatic fur and feather accents  — also a major accessories motif — sewn on like stoles.


For all the powerful posturing, this collection was about contrast, strong versus delicate, tough versus sweet. Ivory lace dresses that revealed blue bejeweled shoulder pads were pretty but for the (shamelessly borrowed) pointy bras underneath. And tailored bottoms paired with draped chiffon blouses — an effect echoed in the beautiful finale of elaborate white jerseys topped with feathers and sculpted bows — made fine examples of controlled counterpoint. Elsewhere, the collection read as pure pastiche, as in white caped crusaders covered in studs, and styles slung with excessive strands of covered pearls and chains. Still, those missteps were mild compared to Tisci’s most egregious caveat: Long, stringy black hair, used as garnish or covering full garments, was weird and ugly apparently for the sake of being weird and ugly, and only distracted from the lineup’s overall strength.

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