Riccardo Tisci's childhood obsessions were the American flag and the Minotaur. One of the spoils of fame is that he gets to explore those obsessions as an adult, in the entirely public arena of a Givenchy menswear show. It took place tonight in a tent under the golden dome of Napoleon's tomb, whose façade had been specially illuminated in red for the evening. The drama of such a backdrop set the bar high for Tisci, but right now there are no other menswear designers in Paris who can pull that kind of hell rabbit out of a hat. Obsession is a powerfully persuasive thang.

But even with that looming Napoleonic splendor behind him, Tisci called his show American Dream. He is realizing that childhood fantasy, after all: hanging out in L.A., buying a place in NYC. The stars and stripes of Old Glory contributed the key graphic motifs, and the gladiatorial sports of America helped out with the oversize silhouettes. The Minotaur, Tisci's other obsession, loaned the golden nose ring, worn with varying degrees of discomfort by all the models, and a general testosteronic miasma of half-man half-animal magnetism.

It was a powerful combination. That's because Tisci has found a formula and he has stuck to it: the hard-edged elegance of monochromatic tailoring on the one hand, the physicality of extreme sportswear on the other. After the show, he said it had taken him his seven seasons with Givenchy to give him the confidence to go back to his early ideas and realize them properly. "Now I recognize 100 percent who my man is," he said exultantly. That man may wear a striped top studded with red enamel stars, or a denim baseball jacket paired with a matching skirt (Tisci's by-now emblematic adaptation of the warrior's kilt). Or he could choose the lush solemnity of the all-black ensemble that opened the show: a double-breasted suit, a shirt, and tie sported by male model of the moment Simone Nobili.

Nobili returned at the finale in the same outfit transformed by the addition of jet beading. That was some kind of marker for Tisci's own trajectory.