PFW AW14: Givenchy

The sands of time have once again cast a new mode for Tisci at Givenchy, who has complied with a soft sophisticated luxury this season, an opulence harbouring tempting erotic undertones, in one of the most extensive presentations so far this season in Paris. Models commandeered the catwalk with a newfound confidence, feline faces fixed in place by cosmetic tape, ready for their close-up, and backstage Tisci deemed AW14 a celebration of “elegance and bon ton, my own bon ton, of course”, perhaps the tenacious spirit of the aforementioned bon ton stems from an quintessentially Italian upbringing at the hands of eight iron-clad sisters and an instrumental matriarch, who stands as one of the designer’s biggest inspirations.

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It’s fantastic to consider the way in which these homely origins come into play this season. Effective entrants introduced include the drifty frills of stunning dresses, intricately printed with an array of typical imagery, from abstracted butterfly motifs, to snakeskin stipples and classic baroque engravings, vividly animated when in motion.

That’s without even getting started on the lovingly adorned leopard print, which eventually makes way for a warming smudged painterly print, composed in the finest chiffon, underpinning a woman in touch with her femininity, but in hindsight, that’s always been too girlish a word, especially for such a perceptive collection. Constructivist Bauhaus design formalities juxtapose the idealised, mature, womanly air, but by all accounts, wonderfully so, as Tisci reprises some hardened street-wise aesthetics from his lauded menswear expo in January, note the patchwork panels, banding the body and trimming pockets with colour-block obstinacy.

Flanking the plush new essentials this season, modern takes on combining fox, karakul and astrakhan result in some beguiling boleros and coats, ghosting mischievously as dresses, and now, as the A/W season reaches its climax, the message is loud and clear, fur is now the designers choice.

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Defiant evening wear followed suit, highlighting extended adaptations of striking patterned pieces, chic finely cut suits, cresting the zenith of eroticised “le smoking” undertones, and A-line ensembles, based on simplistic pleated black skirts, but focusing on fiery snakeskin and scaly, graduated metallic embellishments. Tisci’s evolution at Hubert’s legendary house is undoubtedly choice fodder for the industry, and this season, hinging on a refined avowal of canny peacocking and also a profound relationship with the cloth, marks a real high point for the creative director.

by Liam Feltham

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