If gothic for spring sounds counter-intuitive, consider the fact that Riccardo Tisci’s audience at last night’s Givenchy show were sweltering in what is nearly October, and that some of the clothes on the catwalk will arrive in stores as early as January. Suddenly the heaviness and the darkness makes sense.
Then there’s the fact that the theme Tisci chose to run with – that is, a retrofuturistic rock chick with shades of Siouxsie Sioux but also of Blade Runner – never really goes out of style anyway. In his hands, usual references became more than the sum of their parts though; they were treated with a sort of high-end reverence normally bestowed on clothes less ‘realistic’ and more highly designed.
But that meant that the ‘jeans’ – if you could call them that, given what they’ll probably sell for and the workmanship involved in making them – became the best possible jean, and so on. They were particularly fantastic, riding exaggeratedly high on the waist, super-super-skinny and worn with knee hight, pin-heeled boots and billowing, sheer shirting. It was fabulous, in a sort of knowing way.
But beyond the pure rock chick there were more monochrome pieces and there was a more complex vision. To say ‘gothic’ is too simple, but there were nods to it in laced bustier dresses and skintight leather trousers, as well as cotton shirting with cut-out shoulders that fell to deep and ruffled Augustine cuffs.
Tisci also seemed to be looking at his own archive – the Beetlejuice stripes that cascaded down skater skirts and trousers were reminiscent of his Spring/Summer 2010, Op-art influenced collection, especially as they appeared to haver and wave, thanks to cunning pleating and frills that lay within folds. There were also fringed leather centurion skirts and a crucifix print on T-shirts – clear signifiers of this designer’s interests and back catalogues.
But this collection wasn’t retrograde or backward-looking. Optical whites and lace, metallic fringing and brocade may have felt New Romantic, but it was a new New Romantic, if that makes sense. As much sense as gothic for spring, no doubt.