Givenchy: Mexicana Victoriana
At Givenchy, Riccardo Tisci gave the show of his life — powerful and tender, rich and brave — it was a sumptuous summing up of his ten years at the house.
There to join him in a show space dotted with pinball machines and a runway red carpet were the perpetual fashion couple Kim and Kanye, plus Katy Perry, Jessica Chastain, and so many more.
But for once, all eyes were not on the front row, instead they were on Riccardo’s runway, which mixed with exceptional dexterity three separate elements: Parisian perfection, British Victoriana, and Mexican chola street gangs — with a stylised version of their jewellery accessorising the show in an alarming but mesmerising way.
“The girls from Mexico are very stylish and very Latin — which I love,” said the Italian Tisci. “I am obsessed with street style — it’s my aesthetic. And I was always obsessed with Victoriana. So many other designers have done it — but I found my way.”
The result was an underlying combination of sexuality – with corsets built into little black dresses — and menace, with glittering ear pieces and nose rings where ruby coloured stones looked like drops of blood.
The tailoring traced the body so closely that it fulfilled Tisci’s comment that “couture has taught me a lot.” But not all the pieces were the fitted-like-a-glove trouser suit, its jacket sprinkled with sparkles; nor the rich red velvet dress with a portrait neckline and the corset strips creating a tiny waistline.
There was also plush fur, in different shades of blood red; peacock patterns, straight out of an Art Nouveau decor, but with the intensity of digital printing.
On the feet throughout were Victorian ankle boots of the kind that were undone slowly, seductively, by loose women in an era when a glimpse of stocking was something shocking.
In his decade at Givenchy, Tisci has done his fair share of shocking, by bringing the street style of sweatshirts and sportswear into a classic couture house. After the destruction has come an edgy new beauty. It produced a show that will linger like a fine perfume in the fashion air.
John Galliano: A Hint of Deco
I would doff one of Bill Gaytten’s pork-pie hats at the John Galliano show in acknowledgement of his ability to remain cool and calm, as the drama around his former design companion and friend continues to swirl.
As Galliano himself slowly inches back into fashion via the Maison Margiela label, Gaytten just goes on doing what he does so well: the cut and drape of modern clothes.
Of all the floor-sweeping coats worn over a mini dress that I have seen this season, the John Galliano label came up with the most convincing example. It was a brushed purple maxi coat worn over a short black crêpe number.
Gaytten offered his unbeatable technique with cut in a variety of ways — from a silvered, extended jacket to a cropped top that just hit the waist above narrow pants. Short skirts and knee-high boots gave a faint Sixties feeling.
But along with some exquisite decorative techniques, Gaytten has also learned over the years to take a theme and run with it.
The designer said that he started looking at Art Deco motifs and fabrics, but his skill was to drag them across his creative screen so that they looked modern and lively.
I liked abstract flowers in dense greenery as a pattern for a short dress. But other, more digital looks — some of them scattered twinkle effects like snow – were sophisticated.
Gaytten also included surprise elements: funky fish embroidered on streamlined clothes.
LVMH is lucky to have such a stalwart trooper to produce a credible collection under the Galliano name.