Riccardo Tisci’s show for Givenchy started off on a solemn note, with a minute of silence for Franca Sozzani, the Italian Vogue editor in chief who died in December. It’s hard to imagine a typical Tisci show segueing on from such a reflective moment, but this wasn’t a typical Tisci show.
No earsplitting soundtrack. No car wreck set. (The venue, the recently renovated National Library of France, could not have been more sedate.) And barely a hint of gangsta attitude.
Instead, Tisci delivered what he described as an ode to the American West, as seen through the eyes of a child. “I did it my own way: graphic and pop and much more ironic and fun, which is what I see a future for — things that are more positive and more light,” he said backstage after the show. “It’s the child in me that never grew up.”
The display opened with a series of navy jackets and coats featuring oversize brown buttons that threw the garments’ classic proportions off-balance. Ditto the extra-large multicolored toggles on a dark duffle coat, which had the effect of shrinking the wearer.
The majority of the lineup centered around checked shirts and graphic sweaters, with most of the action happening around the neck. Extra-wide, V-shaped necklines exposed shirt collars in various stages of deconstruction.
Stripes, a house signature, were combined with bold tribal-inspired motifs on a series of T-shirts and sweaters. Tisci said they were inspired by Native American cultures, though he avoided any literal references to avoid causing offense. “I don’t like to steal from cultures,” he said. “I reinterpreted the American West with my own eyes.”
The Western theme carried through into a series of 15 women’s haute couture looks, with highlights including glammed-up prairie dresses, a fringed black suede jacket and a scallop-fringed halterneck gown — worn by Bella Hadid — that was more Mae West than Annie Oakley.
Could Tisci be getting ready to turn over a new leaf? Market sources said this week the designer has been in talks with Versace about joining the house. Tisci noted he has been designing Givenchy’s men’s collections for nine years and hinted that he was done with Gothic angst.
“I don’t want to do something that is always dark, and I wanted to do something that makes you smile and makes you happy to wear clothes,” he said.
It’s quite an about-face for a brand that has built its following on a mix of razor-sharp tailoring and glamorous sportswear. Maybe Tisci really is seeking a change of habit.