Riccardo Tisci is not one to back away from a big idea. His creative exploration of themes including love and religion (spring 2016), as well as Egypt and the origins of civilization (fall 2016), has yielded collections as heavy-hitting as their source material. So was the case for spring, a spectacular fashion interpretation of no-less awesome subjects than nature and spirituality.
“It’s all about mandala, the strength of nature and the strength of spirituality,” Tisci said backstage after the show, noting that his friends Lea T and Marina Abramović often talk to him about zen, energy, rocks and the power of nature. “It’s a different way to see the world.”
This was not “spirituality,” the commercial concept bought into by your wellness-loving friend with the word “Namaste” hanging over her bed. Staged under the night sky in the botanical garden of Paris’ National Museum of Natural History, a backup venue when the first choice didn’t work out — (“It was karma,” said Tisci) — the set had a haunting grandeur. The models walked on a mirrored runway set in a square around the grounds, with the show arranged as a staccato of many ideas. The universe seemed to have bestowed new creative energy on Tisci, as many of the looks felt quite new from him.
The show opened with three of its simplest looks — slipdresses in blown-up geode prints in shades of pink, purple and orange, over sheer tank dresses — followed by a group of tailored black jackets with puffy zippered utility pockets on the hips over fluid bell-bottom pants, each model rocking a necklace hung with an enormous slice of a geode. The contrast between the rich colors and organic shape of the mineral crystal and the relatively stark tailoring was fabulous. Tisci built it up from there, progressing from tight solid jersey dresses cut with sensual portrait necklines in jewel tones to shirtdresses with exaggerated collar points in swirled color blocks and psychedelic mandala prints in combinations of purple, red, yellow and orange.
He pursued leaner, curvier silhouettes than he has recently. “I think women in this moment in society — not only in America — have more power,” said Tisci. “I want to make a more sensual woman who’s more conscious of her body.” Frills in fiery flower and sky prints circled the hips and busts of lean, collared cocktail dresses. The wild kaleidoscope of color and pattern — rainbow polka dots and stripes — hit a fever pitch midway, when Tisci began pairing down to something more elegant and elemental. There were serene scarf dresses in black with big, sparely placed mandala motifs. The tailoring that had intermittently broken up the pattern throughout the show became more alluring. The collection closed with a trio of black suits with convertible zipper details, decorated with flat crystals embroidered into floral motifs that reminded of stained glass. They were modern, sexy, confident and they had good energy.