Thursday, October 2, 2008


Riccardo Tisci is getting major flack from the press about his Spring/Summer 2009 show for the house of Givenchy, which he presented on Wednesday (1st Oct).

The collection, which he called "Western Bondage," was typical Tisci: primarily a black and white palate but this time incorporating a few abstract western-inspired "flame" motifs vaguely reminiscent of Felipe Oliveira Baptista's s/s 08 "Les Catcheuses" collection. He successfully did his own interpretations of mid-90s Gianni Versace bondage straps and also showed a few ready-to-wear versions of his one-shouldered, puff-sleeved, dresses from a couture collection 2 seasons or so ago. The only misstep he made was using the bane-of-my-existence tacky late 80s acid-washed denim (again a recurring "trend" in many collections, don't ask me why), however that was only in 4 looks so they can (and will) be easily forgotten and forgiven.

What lasting impressions I got from the collection were the sharply tailored, figure-flattering jackets for day (statement of the season), beautiful draped silk tops, and classic workaday trousers which were done in looser, more figure-friendly shapes cropped at the ankle to show off a statement shoe. Of course, the omnipresent second-skin trouser was there, too (and in leather, natch)... but what's new with that?

For evening he showed a gorgeous version of a man's classic tuxedo tailcoat, paired with a bejeweled silk blouse and zip-detailed trousers as well as a crystal-encrusted suede coat which is probably my favorite piece in the whole collection.

As far as what the "critics" thought of this collection, my absolute favorite person in the world (ha!) Cathy Horyn didn't hesitate to rip Riccardo a new one:
I don’t think the explanation for last night’s rambling Givenchy show is that Riccardo Tisci just has too many ideas and doesn’t know how to “focus.” I’m beginning to wonder if he has any ideas at least that are original.

There was not much design value in the clothes, and some things showed surprisingly little finesse, and I couldn’t help but wonder...if Christophe Decarnin’s Balmain had an influence. Those black and white flame leather pants? The crystal-soaked club dresses?

Looking at the mess tonight that is the spring Givenchy collection — a label that people covet — it’s easy to believe that mindless acquisition actually has a style. It’s not trashy. The designer Riccardo Tisci uses high-quality leathers, jackets feature such feminine details at puffed sleeves and a lattice of straps across the back, and there are minidresses in beige-pink wool with sheer insets that reveal yellow lace underneath.

But there is a gluttonous quality to everything, a lack of sophisticated design and standards. The collection simply asserts, in the most banal way, that there is a customer for stone-washed denim jeans with a leather crotch, a cape with a golden flame detail, and dresses gobbed with fat crystals. And despite the economic worries, she will gladly pay through the nose.

First off, saying that Riccardo would deliberately copy Balmain is not only insane, it's evil-hearted. I see nothing Balmain about this collection at all. Just because he decides to use crystals and leather? Please. Cathy H. has had a beef with Riccardo for a long time and she is always bitter in her reviews of his collection. I don't know what she has against him, but her opinion does not matter. He IS talented, creative and original; he has proven that season after season. Some people just won't ever get it. And what's with that last paragraph? I'm pretty sure she got her notes for Balmain mixed in with this one. It's befitting that collection, not his, especially since Givenchy doesn't even cost 1/4 of what Balmain does. Gluttonous? Proves that there is a customer for ridiculously overpriced mediocrity? You tell me.


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