At Givenchy, what's interesting is watching what the young designer Riccardo Tisci can make of the rarefied milieu of haute couture. It is a field now narrowed to a very few players, some of whom were running their own ateliers before Tisci was born, and it is not fair to compare the work of a novice with the accomplishments of masters. Rather, the question is, what do his collections say about who he is and how he sees the world?

To judge from this presentation, Tisci is working toward expressing a somewhat dark, contemporary vision of Parisian chic, permeated with an awareness of global undercurrents. The themes in his program notes were drawn from multiple ethnic sources, including Bosnia, India, Africa, and Indonesia. They produced a show, mainly in shades of dark browns and black, that juxtaposed precise tailoring and evening gowns with vast tribal headpieces, veils, and skeletonlike boleros, and suggested imagined worlds of ritual, ceremony, and myth. Clearly, Tisci is a designer sensitive to the notion that fashion is more than a straightforward showcasing of salable clothes. That's to be applauded, even though his fledgling career is a work in progress.