These last several seasons, Riccardo Tisci has been on quite the roll. His couture collections are among the strongest on the Parisian calendar and his ready to wear continues to amass him cult followers amongst the fash pack and A-listers a like (Kanye was in front row and centre). Perhaps the time has come to truly hail him as the sartorial god into which he seems to have apotheosized, as tonight's show felt more like a gathering of worshipers in the Church of Givenchy instead of a fashion show. It was, after all complete with live organ techno music and a pilgrimage to get there (Paris tonight is gridlocked with strikes and a whipping chill wind putting taxi waits up to the hour-long mark).
The clothes struck a perfect synergy between a sort of new wave softness characterised by ruffles rippling off tops and dresses contrasted with hard-edged minimalism. One thinks back to Frida Giannini's undulating dual-coloured ruffles at Gucci last week in Milan, but here, the pizazz has been stripped down to its austere French bones--monastically so. The first look set an ecclesiastical tone but only with the subtlest nuances of cut rather than all the obvious trappings of convent life. That is to say, a high-necked novice's habit of powder blue with undulating scalloped hems had its right sleeve sawed off as opposed to crucifix-bestrewn embellishment.
It was followed by renditions of the same in black and white before giving way to priestly tailoring, sharp, double-breasted and tuxedo accented with an emphasis on three-quarter length proportions. Versions in white were layered over short white silk cassocks. There were stark white priestly shirts and metallic hardware toughened delicate lace, tailoring was rendered in luxe brocade and each girl's neck was enclosed by a circular metal choker set high on the throat. Moving into the second half of the show, muted neutrals softened the monochrome palette, taking the silhouettes with them. Sleeves became impossibly rounded on short-sleeved jackets and more mature habits for those higher up in the Order of Givenchy materialised almost kaftan-like in slippery black satin and wispy white sheer chiffon. The best part of Givenchy risen? Gone were the roaring rottweilers and sneering sharks, as far as Tisci returned for Spring 2013, chic was omnipresent and there was not a print in sight.