Paris Fashion Week AW15: Givenchy

Victorian goth meets fierce Latin street gangs for Givenchy’s dark autumn/winter collection, as Ricardo Tisci celebrates his tenth year at the French powerhouse.

Held in an abandoned arcade, the bleak setting juxtaposed beautifully with the high-octane glamour of the clothes. The show was sound tracked to dramatic, eerie music as Tisci’s tribe stomped down the runway.

Although fearless femininity isn’t new at Givenchy, see last season’s rock’n’roll queens, it was taken to a whole new level by Victorian-chola girls, whose significance was explained by the creative director after the show: “It’s a moment of women getting their strength again, and a bigger confidence and sensuality”. By coincidence or not, the show took place on International Woman’s Day, which ensured his message was loud and clear.

Intricate lace designs with high necklines, corset waists and structured riding jackets in an abundance of velvet, brought Victorian England to Paris. Sheer dresses were everywhere but the look was anything but delicate; embroidered, ruffled, and spliced and paired with chunky heeled boots as romanticism battled deadliness.

All black everything ruled, with only the exception of deep burgundy, midnight blue and the odd nude piece, fur featured heavily in the collection, as dyed raccoon tails adorned many of the looks.

The ostentation of the intricately beaded finale pieces hearkened back to the fashion house’s couture days while the prevalent tailored peplum jackets and cropped trousers exemplified extraordinary craftsmanship.

A legend in her own right, Pat McGrath created one of the most mesmerising beauty looks of the season; as huge facial gems adorned the girls’ faces and multiple chandelier-like rings hung from their noses and ears. Despite the spectacular beauty of the jewellery, its vast quantity prevented the look from becoming too feminine and instead served to intimidate, the South American gang vibe was continued with the wet-look hair which was plaited and swirled into baby curls.

The bringing together of Victorian elegance and street gang severity shouldn’t work, but as Ricardo Tisci demonstrates season after season, he is an expert when it comes to seamlessly merging opposing themes.

Such superb execution reaffirm his position as one of the most exciting designers around today, may he reign at Givenchy for many more years to come.

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