The sexes were different. The seasons were separated. But the response was the same: WOW!
And that was before the Givenchy men’s show for spring 2016, incorporating 11 looks from winter 2015 haute couture, had even started.
The red-hot front-row line-up included elegant Kris Wu, the impeccably dressed young Chinese film star; Courtney Love, rock queen of dishevelled glamour; and Kris Jenner, mother of those Kardashians, dressed head to toe In black in a parody of Parisian glamour. She was there to watch her daughter Kendall, who walked for designer Riccardo Tisci.
The T-shirts with Jesus Christ printed on their square-cut fronts and the boxy sportswear seemed a familiar take on the look that Tisci has built for Givenchy menswear. I asked him about it backstage.
“You know, I have this religious thing,” Riccardo said, although he included a sharply tailored coat that was sleek and stylish.
And showing the barely-there couture dresses?
“I want them to be seen on the runway — although I will have them to look close-up during couture.”
In fact this show, with its splattering of metallic “cages” as part of the sinuous runway, could be seen close up. And that revealed the intricate work of featherlight embroidery, silken pink tassels, a sea foam of blue fabric worn with dark hose. And a fluffy yellow dress of infinite detail in its creation, worn by Mariacarla Boscono, Tisci’s long-time muse.
Since there was a great deal of skin and minimal underwear, especially when Naomi Campbell appeared in a silver striped jacket and nothing else at the top, the sensuality of the collection was overwhelming — as well as its fine craftsmanship.
But the naked truth about haute couture is that any client could order a silk lining to the lacy dresses. While in their cut-away form they will win applause and attention on the red carpet.
Givenchy’s line-up of A-list celebrities need look no further for an attention-seeking — and beautifully constructed — outfit.
As for stealing a march on the official haute-couture week — that is another smart move. With spring collections challenging couture for attention — and with the Paris week truncated by Valentino and Dolce & Gabbana showing in Italy, Givenchy made a smart pitch for early attention.
And as if that were not enough to prove that fashion shows are now just pawns to move across fashion’s game of chess, the next Givenchy ready-to-wear show will be in New York, not Paris in September — the better to attract attention to a new store opening in Manhattan.