Paris Fashion Week: Givenchy gets religion
The powerful waft of incense should have tipped us off, especially when paired with the awe-inspiring beauty of the second-floor ballroom at La Sorbonne, with its high, artwork-covered ceiling and ornate gilded fixtures evoking a sense of sacred place. But it was the swells of "Ave Maria" that hammered it home: Designer Riccardo Tisci was taking us to church.
Compared to some of the "throw it against the wall and see what sticks" shows lately, Givenchy's seemed compact (I counted just 25 looks), but its cup runneth over with religious references from the overt "JESUS IS LORD" screened T-shirt and gold-colored crown-of-thorns necklaces to the subtlety monastic hoods accessorizing both tailored two-button jackets and heavier duffel coats.
Dress-shirt collars were shrunken and collar points rounded -- and one-winged-collar tuxedo shirts that stood so tall (and had wings so small) at first glance they could be mistaken for clerical colors. (Nearly all
the models trod the catwalk in chunky mandals -- aka "man sandals" -- which only helped underscore the notion.
There were double-breasted suit coats and notch-lapel dinner jackets, tuxedo shirts with shearling-like bibs ("lamb of God" reference, anyone?), and austere, heavier duffel coats.
Tisci's tailoring even managed to give a sartorial symbol of excess -- the double-breasted jacket, done in several versions including a notch-lapel tuxedo jacket and a topcoat -- a downright austere feel.
The only disconnect seemed to be the pants; there were man skirts (or skorts, it was hard to tell) worn over shiny bodystocking material, trousers that billowed slightly just below the belt before turning skintight through the legs, and a pair of black trousers with a tone-on-tone all-over print of soaring birds that was so out of place it looked like a refugee from someone else's collection.
But then again, who knows what kind of trousers men of the cloth wear under their cassocks these days?
Photos: At top, looks from the Givenchy men's Fall/Winter 2010 runway collection, on Jan. 22, 2010, which showed at La Sorbonne during Paris Fashion Week. At bottom, detail shots of the mandals (left) and all-over print trousers. Credit: Jonas Gustavsson / For The Times.