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Paris Fashion Week: Birds of paradise take flight at Givenchy

June 26, 2011 |  7:56 am

NewImage2 Riccardo Tisci wisely followed up last season's blackout-plagued dogfight of a collection by choosing to show his spring and summer 2012 collection in a glass-walled space at the Pompidou Center that was flooded with natural daylight.

The mood of the collection was considerably lighter as well. The aggressive, foreboding imagery of snarling Rottweilers, sharp-toothed clowns and leopard prints of the last two seasons had given way to a kinder, gentler Givenchy collection -- one with a bird of paradise floral motif.

The sharp, distinctive shape of the strelitzia, rendered in orange, purple, pink and green, appeared against backgrounds of ivory, pale green and white, on a range of garments including suits, shorts, T-shirts, kilts and baseball caps, accessorized with white lanyards hung around the neck and plastic sandals on the feet.  

But it didn't take long to realize these were no ordinary birds of paradise; there was something almost ominous about them and their scissorlike appendages, and some versions were so NewImage1 architectural and severe they looked like they could be used in a side-street knife fight -- and give you the edge.

And Tisci didn't just slap the same screenprinted images across the whole collection either, each piece of floral art was crafted specifically for the garment it appeared on -- some were screenprinted, others were hand-painted, and still others were enbroidered, beaded or created out of painted sequins.

Trouble in paradise? Maybe.

But it looks better than it has in a long time.


At Givenchy, catwomen on the prowl

Givenchy goes for Rottweilers on the runway

Leopard spots and clown prints by Givenchy give guys a backbone

 -- Adam Tschorn, reporting from Paris

Photos: Looks from the Givenchy spring / summer 2012 collection shown during Paris Fashion Week. Credit: Francois Guillot / AFP/Getty Images