A tasteful homage to the events that knocked the world 14 years ago, Givenchy paid respects with “delicate” and “sensitive” designs.

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9/11 a day of Remembrance

Givenchy’s Riccardo Tisci’s Spring/Summer 2016 show at New York Fashion Week paid homage to the tragic bombings that happened over a decade ago, the show started at dusk on the roof of Pier 26 with 2 beams of light shining on the set to represent the loss. On every guest’s seat was a letter from Artistic Director Marina Abramovic to ‘Riccardo’ in which she explained that the set was constructed from recycled materials and debris, so that it could be assembled and demolished without any waste. According to Abramovic, Tisci’s designs were ‘delicate’ and ‘sensitive’.

The line was certainly sombre, with an almost completely monochrome palette, not a far cry from Tisci’s usual gothic traces, but certainly a nod toward respectful quietness. The overbearing presence of lace combined with this palette however, at times pushed this quiet nod into a full on funeral procession, 19th century style. Menswear brought no top hats but certainly tailcoats, adhering to this Victorian quota, however, the tailored, acutely pressed, above-the-knee shorts paired with blazers modernised them, and brought suiting into spring. Overall, the line did not scream of spring, but with a purposeful remembrance theme, striking a balance between seasonal appropriation and sombre respect was always going to be a struggle.

Multi-cultural magic 

Our choice of music, from six different cultures and religions, had the power to unite people without discrimination’ wrote Abramovic. The multicultural influence was especially present in Tisci’s couture looks: the oriental origami influenced semi sheer gown, a mosaic style long sleeved gown, elevated embellished and studded collars perhaps influenced by traditional tribal stacked collars and intricate headdresses reminiscent of Indian bridal wear. The strongest cultural presence in the line was of the tribal sort: models wore facial piercings and stretched ears (a tribal tradition of African, Eurasian and Native American communities), ostrich feathers and of course the incredible bejewelled masks courtesy of make-up artist Pat McGrath.

Lace & leather – a mixed media tale

Tisci’s show was an eclectic mix of womenswear, menswear and haute couture, but also an innovative mix of different mediums. The use of lace was of course the most noticeable, with perhaps every possible weave of lace used. This was messy at times but the use of fishnet, mesh, and leather really hardened up certain pieces, keeping them modern: leather leggings worn underneath a sheer skirted ball gown was a testament to this.

The womenswear was a dreamy combination of lingerie with tailoring, a simple suit being sexed up with a flash of eyelash lace or a sheer stomach panel. Handkerchief hems and waistcoats in women’s three piece suits tied in the seventies influences in the most subtle and elegant way. These suits lacked femininity to great effect: they were wide and unfitted, had tuxedo style tailcoats with traditional satin lapels, even a wide eighties style pinstriped piece made an appearance (made modern with a completely new silhouette- tunic, trousers, and jacket).Gender blurring blouses were showcased in menswear: scalloped lace worn with a tie, a sheer number with feminine wide sleeves and a metallic embellished bib (matt gold sequins), adhering to the polemical topic of gender neutral dress, and doing an excellent job.

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Words: Abigail Southan


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