Riccardo Tisci turns 40 in a month. It's the kind of watershed anniversary that inspires pensive reevaluation in some men. Maybe Tisci is one of them. For his Givenchy show tonight, he went all the way back to his roots with a collection that recalled his first catwalk efforts: the tailoring, the churchy monochrome strictness (black jacket, white shirt, black tie), the school uniform, the sports influence a lot more sublimated than it would subsequently become. The beefy models in their skullcaps looked like the kind of toughs who might hang out on street corners in the south of Italy, where Tisci was born. It was almost as though he was street-casting for a private army. And the handful of women's outfits he showed would easily have dressed their molls. (They had a sexy-widow chic that was reminiscent of Dolce & Gabbana's early days.)

Tisci also reintroduced romance to his menswear by making his favorite flower, gypsophila, also known as baby's breath, the presentation's visual relief. By show's end, the floral effect was a crust of pearl-studded embroidery on the back of a bomber jacket. It was still, however, muted in comparison to his past extravagances, which underscored the impression that this offering was some kind of holding pattern for Tisci. He is still young enough that he could move his career forward from this revisited starting point to a completely different path than the one he's already taken. Imagine, no Rottweilers, no Madonnas, no mutant Bambis. This collection certainly felt like enough of a blank slate to spark speculation about possible future directions for the designer.