13 July 2009

Givenchy haute couture automne/hiver 2009

Riccardo Tisci's Givenchy is nothing short of a 21st century fashion-world phenomenon. His gothic, religion-inspired garb has sparked devotion from editors (Roitfeld), writers (Mower), photographers and bloggers alike.

Perfecting a very particular Givenchy look that is part Eastern goddess, part chic fashionista, and part tough urban warrior, Tisci has not only captured the zeitgeist of late noughties fashion, he has played a crucial role in creating it. The last couple of years have seen him produce collections which hone in on a particular aesthetic concept season after season, but use ever-different materials and colours, and increasingly complicated lines and textures, to explore this concept in greater depth.

It is interesting that this approach - exploring one idea in great depth, rather than attempting to follow the 'trends' by starting from scratch every season - is the exception rather than the rule in fashion today. It is certainly proving a successful way of conducting business for Tisci and Givenchy. Women (and men) want direction, they want a certain level of predictability in their favourite labels; when they find something that works, that they like, they want that thing to last. Perhaps this is what's caused problems for labels like Chloe when the famous Phoebe Philo departed.

Indeed, we should expect more than a mere tokenistic gesture toward rehashing a house's history, rather that history should be reinstated by its being placed into a new, and equally visionary, pair of hands. A pair of hands that will be remembered for not only carrying on the legacy of the famous fashion house, but for putting their own mark on it and creating something new for the contemporary (read: Karl Lagerfeld). There is a need for designers working for big, old, renowned fashion houses to make their own mark and refine their own style.

Needless to say, this may be easier said than done, and many creative directors (understandably) suffocate under the pressures of big business demands and narrow-minded corporate criteria. However, to be remembered as a true style creator and avoid fading into the fashion ether like so many do (read: Paulo Melim for Chloe (though I quite liked his work)), creative vision must usurp business vision: The designer's statement for fashion must be stronger the CEO's fear of losing revenue.

Undoubtedly, Tisci's Givenchy is about statement (think oversized gold studs for AH07, PE09's denim/leather overload, the exaggerated necklaces for AH08 or the enormous polka-dots of PE08), for haute couture AH09 the statement is the couture itself. Tisci's divine dresses and trademark harem trousers, the superb patterns he uses, the gothic fabrics (velvet, I love), the hoods, the exotic red beading, the chunky gold jewellery, the turtlenecks, the juxtaposition of sheer and flowing with heavy and stiff, the flowers, the black warrior-garb, the creams doused in what could be blood ...

It all equates to a very Tisci for Givenchy show: A powerful show where seemingly disparate elements come together to create something beautiful, where the message rings loud and clear that Riccardo Tisci is designing what he wants to design, and we will love that, in all its incarnations. The proof, of course, being that we do.

Bring on Printemps/Ete 2010!

Karolin Katlin Kamila Iris Kasia Lara Antonella (Pics: Style.com)

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