Riccardo Tisci does his gothic-liturgical thing very well. Add a little bit of incense, and the monochrome palette and layers of lace would go down a treat with your local college of cardinals. But Tisci's wild card is a juicy stew of raging hormones—in a word, sex. Like every good Catholic boy, he dwells in a limbo between piety and lust.
The lute-plucking overture that preceded his Givenchy show tonight might have been intended to induce a quietly contemplative mood, but the bombast of "Cry Little Sister" from the soundtrack to The Lost Boys immediately carried us away to a world of overripe decadence, with two of Tisci's favorite female models, Mariacarla Boscono and Malgosia Bela, working head-to-toe vampire-goddess looks.
The ensuing collection played itself out as a battle between purity (white lace) and carnality (animal print). Initially, the designer combined the two: The white lace of his layered shirts was actually a leopard print, as was the moiré pattern on his black suits. But halfway through, a sleeve of leopard spot crept out from under a mandala-embossed white shirt, and from that point on, the spot steadily took over, culminating in a full suit with matching shirt-and-shoes combination.
Tisci has definitely created a strong signature for himself, part street (shorts over leggings, bike-messenger layers) and part salon (evening-influenced tailoring), but it's all very solemn and serious. Next time, it would be nice to see him inject some levity into the equation.