“Katy Perry, Jessica Chastain, Amanda Seyfried, and Kim and Kanye, of course, were throwing off some serious heat at Givenchy tonight. Talk about a scene. Ten years into his run at the LVMH-owned house, Riccardo Tisci’s still the hottest ticket in town. But if the front-row situation was cause for neck craning, it had nothing on what came down the runway.
We’re not just talking about the first black velvet dévoré dress. That was fairly conservative by Givenchy standards. It was also the model’s kiss curls and braids, and her giant septum ring and faceful of glued-on gems, that made you sit up for a better view. Tisci’s done septum rings before, but tonight’s face jewelry was at another level, and it was one side of the designer’s Fall mash-up. “Victorian-chola girl,” is how he described the collection, and, as usual, it was a deeply personal trip.
As an Italian, Tisci has always had a thing for Latin archetypes. The California chola girl qualifies. The clothes themselves, though, hued closer to the Victorian side of the story he was telling backstage. It’s a period that’s been in the air this season, maybe because of the Costume Institute’s recent exhibition of mourning attire, Death Becomes Her. Tisci is the kind of guy who would probably get off on the notion that widows were once considered a threat to the social fabric. But remember, people have been calling him a goth, the dark side of Victoriana, since his very first couture collection for Givenchy, back in 2005.
Many of the details here were things he’s touched on in previous collections. The subtle Catholic cross stitched into the bodice of a dress, the corseted and peplumed jackets, the dresses over cropped pants—they’ll all look familiar to Givenchy fans. But everything was taken to a higher level: The execution was flawless and the clothes’ dark allure was more intense than ever. The collection showcased Tisci’s indisputable skills as a tailor, but it also underscored his experience as a couturier, even if the house no longer puts on a formal couture show. The final series of looks were ornately embroidered with jet beads—on a strapless bustier dress; on a slimline, bias-cut net gown; and on a pair of tailcoats with wide, short sleeves. You’ll see the dresses on a red carpet sometime soon, very likely on one of tonight’s front-row stars. As for the face jewels? Tisci indicated backstage that some would indeed be offered for sale. Like everything else here, they were scintillating.”