It’s an odd time for the world and an odd time for fashion. When there is so much sadness, so much change and so, so much conversation about a way forward, how does one even attempt to create a fashion collection with a viable message? So much we have seen this season feels out of touch or, to put it bluntly, strangely pointless. It’s an odd time to try to be enthusiastic about very expensive clothes. That’s speaking from a critic’s perspective, but I’d say the feeling is shared by others; designers, stylists, models - everyone who takes part in the circus of fashion week. Many designers spoke of feelings of reflection, quiet and stillness this season - an awareness of a need to step back. For a few, this climate sparked confidence and a desire to help - to create light relief, or an atmosphere of optimism. For Ricardo Tisci, it resulted in the former. He spoke of ‘seeking serenity, eternal stability.’ He was in search of peace.
Tisci is a romantic. His collections are often sensual, sometimes even aggressive and boisterous - see those barking rottweilers. To me, he’s at his best when he seduces and ruminates, rather than when he explicitly entertains. Dark beauty - it’s what he does best. That was the story here, for S/S 17. He kept us waiting over an hour before releasing his boys. They were men on a journey, rather than men on a mission. They came covered in pockets, zipped pouches and strange harness-cum-bags. The motifs suggested stoicism, permanence, strength - see those pyramids. The military details and camo suggested troubles ahead - tough times. Sure, the men were battle ready (note also the sunglasses that masqueraded as protective googles) but rather than suggesting aggression this implied resilience. In these uncertain times, Tisci was feeling reflective and hopeful. That was suggested also by the couture that closed the show - a semi separate mini fashion show featuring 13 looks. Unlucky for some, not for Tisci. These looks encapsulated what he does best - modernity and classicism combined, sex and piety merged. Long silk chiffon was worn over fishnet slip dresses and tanks, while ornate pearls and embellishments covered sheer fabric. Resilience again - couture may be in a state of flux, still finding a way of being relevant, but Tisci makes a viable case of how it can be modern. Tisci found his groove at Givenchy long ago, this collection suggested he has the strength to stay true to it, despite the troubles and changes swirling around him.