By Alexander Patino
POSTED March 7, 2011
A Fetishistic Fall is at Bay Courtesy of
Givenchy - But is Dior What's in Store for
The demise of visionary designer John Galliano, just days before he was set to present his latest collection for Dior, has had Paris Fashion Week absolutely abuzz. The shocking and
speedy turn of events has been counterbalanced with plenty of surmising as to whom will fill Galliano's shoes as creative director and lead couturier of the French house. Haider
Ackermann, the Colombian-born designer has been on many lips this week, but none more so than Givenchy's Riccardo Tisci. So at Givenchy this week, did Tisci merely send out yet
another stellar fall collection or were we witness to the most impromptu audition process in fashion history? The fashion cosmos work in mysterious ways.
All the Dior hubbub aside, Tisci sent out the most focused, sexiest and thrilling collection of the whole season. Many designers used their resort and menswear collections as formative
ground to build upon their fall/winter offerings, and Tisci was no different, serving up a seductive analogue to his Givenchy man's Rottweiler in a pack of black panthers. The panthers on the
opening knee-length pencil skirts were more brocade than print and the effect was especially come-hither with the trompe l'oeil suspension of transparent nylon frill basques that hugged
tightly at the hip. Between the feline-eared baseball caps in felt velvet and vinyl, the nylon sheer tuxedo shirts, the subdued but equally titillating velvet skirts and even the fetishistic twist with
the leather inset baseball jackets, one would think that enough sexual verve to drive the deliciously subversive taste of Riccardo Tisci. Suddenly, a wreathed Betty Page on a felt-treated
mohair sweater entered the mix and the entire vision seemed to become more focused even as it expanded.
What was most impressive was Tisci's easy melding of ideas. The purple orchids that arched over the catwalk seemed to share that same violet hue in the panther print and as the show
progressed, one could see these seductive flowers making their way into the collared shirts, the skirts, even the outwear. Flora and fauna intermixed until you didn't know where one ended
and the other began. But it wasn't all in the print work. The shapes and silhouettes were driven by the animalistic tropes, with some sheer tops paneled in velvet to look like what? - well,
kitten ears of course.
At the end of Tisci's genius spectacle, any immediate comparisons to Dior are, well - nowhere in sight. If anyone comes to mind at all, it is Gianni Versace, with the golden regal prints that
abounded. Tisci's ready-to-wear for Givenchy barely has any correlative fabric to the house of Dior; his couture work, on the other hand, seems most applicable. Tisci would bring some of
his inherently sexy darkness, should he be moved over to the more romantically dream-laden house of Dior. But that dreaminess was Galliano's and we have to come to terms with the fact
that he is now gone. If a darker scope is at bay at Dior - well we can't say that's a bad thing. Even fashion's most deeply rooted treasures need a little shake-up once in a while. A shake-up
courtesy of Tisci is barely anything to scoff at. Only time will tell.