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Givenchy’s Mexican Surrealism

Godfrey Deeny
July 07th, 2010 @ 00:30 AM - Paris

Frida Kahlo, an artist who suffered more than her share of pain and who sprinkled religious sentiment through her art, was the key inspiration at the latest haute couture collection for Givenchy by Riccardo Tisci, a couturier who fuses spirituality in much of the fashion he creates.

A tragic car accident in her youth meant that Kahlo had lifelong health problems with her spine, and references to the bones she featured in so many paintings appeared in many of the looks in this hyper-rich fall 2010 collection presented Tuesday, July 6, in Paris.

Though limited to just 10 looks, and presented in a large still life form – the clothes hung off custom-made racks in the historic Hotel d’Evreux, beside the Ritz Hotel - the collection was nonetheless pretty outstanding. Occasionally a model appeared in a look to saunter around the storied and gilded space.

Part surreal take on arty fashion, part ingenious meeting of human and religious forms; and composed in just three colors – bone white, blush and gold – these clothes were a brilliant testament to Tisci’s fertile imagination and ability to create genuinely new fashion.

Columns composed of hyper fine porcelain lace and tulle, hung over ribbed body stockings in knitted silk. Thread, ribbons, shards of silk chiffon and alabaster bones completed the look and referenced Kahlo dramatically. And in case you did not get the Mexican reference to the fact that Kahlo had to wear a full-body cast most of her life, many looks had bone belts. The designer also played on the body parts theme with remarkable molded leather high-heels that mimicked a classic men’s brogue, but looked made of bone.

But the most brilliant outfit was a matador’s frack, or mini tails, in a stunning concoction of gold metallic sequins and crystals – a truly beautiful coat of light, and a great way to celebrate Kahlo's lust for life and her symbolic ecstasy.

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