Death, religion, sensuality. Provocative topics for cocktail conversation, and for fashion, as well. As starting points for Givenchy’s Riccardo Tisci, the themes made for an arresting, finely honed collection.


Tisci’s three-part motif stemmed from what the designer called the three obsessions of Frida Kahlo (whose 103rd birthday is today, for those into such coincidences.) The artist’s fascination with the Mexican Day of the Dead inspired the skeletal lace tracings that recurred throughout the tight, 10-look lineup, delivering ample bravura.


Tisci showed in an installation in a lovely gilded apartment on Place Vendôme, the better for up-close viewing of haute intricacies, and for keeping production costs in check, even if that was not a stated goal of the house. His work is indeed complicated and was beautifully rendered: One dress took 1,600 hours to complete. A coat crafted from countless reed-thin strips of leather made a dramatic companion to a hand-painted silk tulle gown finished with a flurry of dégradé ostrich feathers. Other pieces came exquisitely jeweled or fringed, some in direct response to client requests. All looked drop-dead sexy, from a blush tulle jumpsuit (many looks featured silk knit or tulle bodysuits as underpinnings) to a corseted, lavishly embellished gold gown.


Diverse it wasn’t. Yet up close, Tisci’s decorative inventions were on bold display. And possessed of major curvature and sparkle, virtually every look could make a beeline for the red carpet, where it would shine with confident glamour.

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