Paris Fashion Week: At Givenchy, catwomen on the prowl
Riccardo Tisci is another designer for whom the buzz is becoming deafening. In his six years at Givenchy, Tisci's RTW shows have been hit or miss. But he's been on an upward climb over the last year, thanks to two stellar couture collections and impressive red carpet hits. For the Academy Awards, his gown for Cate Blanchett was among the most interesting of the night.
Add to that a robust accessories business, with the "Nightingale" still holding onto It bag status, and you can see why Tisci is riding high.
Now, he's short-listed as a successor to Galliano at Dior. So, understandably, this collection was an important one.
He scaled back the number of guests and cleaned up the set, decorating the runway with romantic purple floral arches. And then, with a piercing roar over the sound system, out came his most commercial collection yet.
The runway was crawling with cats, as the black panther head on the invitation was incorporated into colorful, Baroque-looking jungle prints, on dresses, pencil skirts, crystal-embroidered blouses with tidy collars and crew-neck pullovers with gold zipper details at the shoulders.
There were a lot of interesting layering effects, such as a short black pleated skirt worn over a longer, crystal-embroidered sheer pencil skirt. And the slimline black skirt suit with patent lapels on the jacket served as a reminder of the designer's superb tailoring skills.
But the real message of this collection was that Tisci is capable of producing a bonanza of salable merch -- sweaters with gold chain intarsia designs, black velvet baseball jackets, high-cut black pumps with gold metal ankle bracelets.
Caps with cat ears and sunglasses with panther motifs added a touch of whimsy that isn't always part of the designer's output.
All in all, there was a lot to purr about.
-- Booth Moore in Paris
Photos: Looks from the Givenchy fall-winter 2011 runway collections shown during Paris Fashion Week. Credit: Jonas Gustavsson and Peter Stigter / For The Times