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Armani Conquers China, Chastises the Pope June 01st, 2012 @ 11:53 AM



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Givenchy’s New Dark Seduction

Godfrey Deeny
March 06th, 2011 @ 4:07 PM - Paris

In a season of reined in conservative fashion it felt like a breath of fresh air to attend the latest collection of Givenchy, where sexuality, seduction and suggestiveness were allowed to bloom.

Though working within the giant luxury conglomerate LVMH, Givenchy's creative director Riccardo Tisci has managed to create a recognizable fashion vernacular of subversive and urban chic in just a few years at the helm of the storied house. Yet he changed gears for this show, freeing his often religious and gothic inspirations for full on sex appeal.

There was a marvelous sense of concision about this show staged Sunday night, March 6. The great circular invitation featured a black panther sketch with one side purple irises and violets on the other. The same hues and imagery appeared in the highly exotic prints used in silken bomber jackets, pencil skirts, and courtly embroidered boleros.

Tisci opened with an enormous panther's roar out of the speakers, and even used real panther fur in some looks. His haughty models strutted through arches of fluorescent-lit flowers in tough chic style, in a romantic nightclub setting built inside the Palais de Tokyo art museum in Paris.

As the show progressed, the very prints became three-dimensional, dyed into shorn and raised fur jackets. Tisci also showed great knits, especially cashmere pullovers with faux golden chains and belts sewn into the weave. American pinups star Bettie Page even emoted in photo montages on the backs of jackets, adding to the risque feel.

"Bettie Page has always been an icon for me. Yes, I wanted far more sexy, but balanced and not vulgarity," said Tisci. And there was reference to another icon, the house of Versace. Tisci who worked the print machine into overdrive, freely admitted that this element was "a homage to Versace." He even invited designer Donatella Versace to the show, though she could not attend.

The single best look was reserved for model Natalia Vodianova in a yellow mohair sweater and printed yellow skirt, covered in stiff crinoline material, giving it a sexy sheen.

The show also heralded the triumphant professional return of Carine Roitfeld, the recently departed editor-in-chief of French Vogue. Though she was nowhere to be seen in the backstage, her savvy hand was evident in Tisci's most focused show ever for Givenchy, and a far greater sexual allure. Where before Givenchy shows were more mixed arty affairs, this show sizzled with revealing flashes of models' thighs, mesh tops that revealed underwear and patent leather piping sneaking up on skirts hems, all recalling Roitfeld's preference for saucy, though not cheap, imagery. Just like this demandingly clever collection.

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