The smoking pile of crashed cars in the middle of the Givenchy runway had guests thinking they were in for a predictable Riccardo Tisci experience. But if previous Givenchy collections could sometimes be accused of using the same model in different wrappings for seasons in a row, Riccardo Tisci’s collection for Spring/Summer 2014 put a stop to any such ideas. Gone were the street style prints, the blogger jumpers, and the multi-layer styling, and in their place something much more substantial took over. In his reimagining of Givenchy, Tisci looked to oriental and tribal elements, and approached these in a calmer, cleaner and more understated way than usual.
The result was one of his most enchanting and sophisticated collections to date. With Kim and Kanye on the front row, live African drummers set the beat to a pungent atmosphere, which didn’t make it hard to dream yourself away to an early evening scenario in a Moroccan bazaar, or a dry equatorial setting with a hint of slum. The draping, wrapping and roping of dresses took an iconic tribal feature to an alluring and graceful level, while similar dresses in bronze sequins quite impressively managed to combine the plain and the opulent, which was further reflected in sequined warrior face masks. There was a relieving earthiness to the collection, no doubt enhanced by the colour palette, which almost felt like a reconciliation in this world of Givenchy that everyone has come to recognise and know so well. In many ways, it was as if fashion was turning a new leaf. Here was the man, who – whether intentionally or not – had fed the machine of statement dressing, it-pieces and street style more than any other designer, and suddenly he wasn’t having anymore of it. And while Givenchy’s trophy jumpers and print pieces will hardly go out of production any day soon, this was a giant leap forward for fashion and for mankind.