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Leopard spots and clown prints: Givenchy gives guys a backbone

June 26, 2010 | 10:02 am


The music accompanying the runway shows this season has been noteworthy, from Annie Lennox performing at Dolce & Gabbana's 20th-anniversary show to The Talking Heads' song "Psycho Killer" playing in at least two shows (at Gianfranco Ferre and Versace). And the volume has been cranked all the way up to 11 throughout.

But the Givenchy show, staged in the ornate ballroom of the InterContinental Paris Le-Grand Hotel, took things to a whole new level.

It started with monastic chanting -- which went on so long that the magazine editor across from me fired up her iPhone stopwatch app (she stopped counting just shy of four minutes) -- before amping up to the sort of bass rumbling that makes your inner ears itch.

But that was hardly the most uncomfortable part of the show, a procession that included leather lucha libre-style masks (but with large, round gas-mask-type eye holes), a screen-printed T-shirt that easily could have doubled for an Insane Clown Posse tour T-shirt, and a leap of leopard prints on suits, long- and short-sleeve shirts, man skorts (would those be "morts"?), and shoes.

The eye-catching accessories were chunky coral-like necklaces -- one in black, another in white -- Rage_spinal crafted to look like the human vertebral column.

Although the over-the-top theatrical pieces stole focus, there also were many delicate touches in the collection: white lace shirts with a tone-on-tone version of the leopard print pattern, and barely visible appliques on shirts that evoked the design of the circular Mayan calendar.

The circle motif was also reflected in the seating at the show, arranged in two concentric circles meant to evoke the notion of a circus.

Designer Ricardo Tisci was a brave ringleader indeed -- it takes backbone to stick your neck out like that, hoping your cavalcade of carnival creatures doesn't overshadow the workmanship of the collection.

Apparently it took a couple of backbones, and I think I know where you can buy one next spring.

-- Adam Tschorn in Paris

Photos: Top, looks from the Givenchy spring/summer 2011 runway show on June 25, 2010, during Paris Men's Fashion Week. Bottom, a close-up of the necklace make to look like a backbone. Credit: Peter Stigter and Jonas Gustavsson / For The Times

Givenchy Spring/Summer 2011 Menswear runway photo gallery

More All The Rage coverage of Paris Fashion Week