Riccardo Tisci has taken his time to show his Givenchy couture collection on a regular runway, rather than in presentations in which his visionand his audience's ability to focus on itwas blurred by too much high concept. Today he found the confidence to strip away the extraneous theatrics and show what he can do in plain view. As it turns outand as the many fans of his ready-to-wear already knowhis strengths are modern tailoring and ingeniously draped spiral-cut dresses. For couture, he parlayed them into a futuristic take on the goddesses and amazons of Greek mythology.
It started with peplumed hunting jackets and feathered skirts, then switched to an exploration of the animal world that included crocodile jackets (the real thing, embellished with appliquéd scales in front, but left as uncut skins in back), oversized fur bombers, and a passage of top-of-helmet to toe-of-shoe looks in dégradé animal print. The tight, overlaced pants and corseted tops had a fierceness vaguely reminiscent of late-eighties Mugler and Montana, or even the late Gianfranco Ferré. That earlier era is gaining fascination for designers of Tisci's age, although he has a softer side, too. That came out in his less assertive suitings and in the highly worked draperies of sparkle-embellished white gowns that ended the show. In all? If, like most young designers, Tisci is still working to define a unique personal signature for himself, he's making progress. With him at the helm, there's a growing sense that the house of Givenchywhich wavered for such a long time before he was hiredis back on a secure footing, and for that, he deserves credit.