Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Back to Paris - Givenchy Spring 2010

Ricardo Tisci is someone I respect as a designer, but what's happened this season? I have two words for you – disposable trends. When you dissect this collection in theory it's filled with beautiful pieces, just too large an assortment of stories to dissect. Even so, the black and white stripes; white-on-white tailoring; tribal new-rave prints; draping and pointy hats all had appeal. Tisci gave the glossy's enough to keep their pages looking interesting this season I have no doubt. However, if the feat of a collection is holding one central story-line, Givenchy's rallied-up at least seven. This is more trends than you could poke a stick at in Top Shop probably!


Scott said...

Ok, now that I’ve cleared my trachea; after inhaling a mouthful of tea whilst reading your take on Rochas, I’ve arrived at Givenchy. I have some thoughts. Ponder with me, if you will.

I come here to get your perspective, that being the perspective of a stylist. One of the greatest things about fashion is the people it attracts and the uniqueness of characters that partake in its creation. I’ve often found it somewhat puzzling that people lay so much merit on the words and opinion of Anna Wintour. Granted she has a unique perspective given her knowledge and power, but at the end of the day, the season or the show; she creates an opinion around a fairly visible and uncompromising agenda, that being American Vogue. There will always be a bias hinged on the researched demographic, the business context, and a target audience propping up her judgement.

Critics are perhaps the most valuable opinion available. Some would argue that it is the consumers who have the most voice. But I’m sceptical. They come much later in the equation, meaning they have already been subject to outside influence for 6 months before they hand over any money, and finally have their “say”. In that time, who knows what they have been reading, who they have been listening to, what marketing campaigns they have been subjected to. You get a lot of baggage with those impressionable, credit-weilding, shoppers. Perhaps they would be more honest with their taste and opinion if the money were their own, and there wasn’t so much of it lying around. In fact I believe they are becoming less malleable, with the financial hoo haa.

So yes, the critic however influenced they may be, has a professional obligation to assess the merit within their subject without bias. Cue, Cathy Horyn! Everyone knows she is not afraid of a good ol’ fashion banning. Ban her and she will intelligently write about it. Invite her and she will intelligently write about it. There has always been a bit of a scuffle between Horyn and Tisci (she dropped him after the praise of his Spring/Summer 2007 haute couture show, man I LOVE that collection), yet what I find interesting is her opinion towards this show. The guns were blazing during the menswear shows just a few months ago. In fact I’m sure her barrel is still warm to the touch. Panos was pushed quite evidently in front of her rapid-fire carnage, and I think she had some veracity. All hell was breaking loose. Yes, that was a different collection, so naturally a different set of eyes is now being used. But I was surprised by the sudden praise. She didn’t go without a word of warning to young Ricardo, but still it was pretty lulled in conclusion.

Scott said...

Here’s where you come in. After all that. A stylist, assuming your not too juiced up on the fantasy that fashion shoots allow for (and quite often OVER produce. Have you noticed that? Where is the reality? It’s becoming so rare I find, that on odd occasions when it does surface, it appears foreign, and almost FANTASY like. How ironic.) you would, I assume, look at this collection as a bunch of separates and as a whole. You apply the look (be it a piece or a collection of pieces) into different environmental, social, cultural situations. You imagine the person wearing it. You may even imagine the sexual habits of that persons friends (haha!). But you are essentially looking at it within a fairly distinctive context. Whereas the critic may touch on everything, be it business, street relevance, historical/heritatge relevance, but focus on design integrity, the stylist assumes a view from the street… which is, where the clothes will end up.

Here’s where I believe your views have been tainted (which I’m by no means saying is an incorrect type of taint. Because in all honesty I had almost the same (knee-jerk?) reaction as yourself to this collection). But you have undoubtedly noticed that Givenchy is operating on a stroke of trendiness. It’s such a bitch of a notion within this industry, it really is. Trends, ugh. I believe it is the ultimate in fashion dichotomy. Because if we reverse back, in many cases (like Ricardo’s), but not all (like Decarnin’s), to many years ago we see that to start a mass trend is to achieve design genius, or styling genius, or artistic genius. The equation of that garment, that look, that piece is so harmonious that it reverberates widely within humanity, and people concomitantly and independently adopt its offerings. Wow! I believe Miuccia has said recently that she is much more interested in this effect of her work rather than providing limited fashion for a select few. But trends can be fabricated, through false means and clever marketing, exuberant price tags, and celebrity timing. It’s a shame really… Decarnin!

I don’t think Ricardo found his footing in the land of trends through shameful means. I believe he struck a chord with his angled tailoring, gothic undertones, and dark romanticism. He did what all great designers do, provided something right with perfect timing. When those signature elements converged into the Givenchy mould the reverberation was felt. The thing is that after the genius of creation and acceptance, it continues to filter down, and down and down, it starts to become toxic. Toxic to the life blood of fashion; the idea of the new.

Scott said...

But lets says Ricardo inhabited a new planet once he was appointed to Givenchy, one that is full of slender leather pants (of the tailored variety, not the legging variety), Catholic references, and Spanish blood, and the fashion aliens saw its beauty from a far and decided to visit. At this stage, it wasn’t a trend at all, it was just a sight to behold. A world worth investigating. Upon arrival they roamed it wildly, wearing everything Emperor Tisci created, hunting to find ruffled shirts, head-to-toe prints, and ethnic embellishment. Can we blame the Emperor for wanting to stay on his home land, with his language and his identity season after season even after the population increases? Or do we expect him to pack up ship and forge on? Or is the answer to explore, gather information, but return home?

It’s really death by trend, death by power, death by influence. We have designers who steer clear of these traps. Who set up planets and remain there. And with such unwavering aesthetic honour. Or patriotism (if we consider my metaphor). Great respect is fostered. Is this becoming too cryptic? Basically, what I’m saying is designers like Ann Demeulemeester, Yohji Yamamoto or Jil Sander (the original) never stray very far from their homeland. They build up the landscape season by season. And because they remain niche, they can revisit old ideas.

When I look back at Ricardo’s body of work (forgetting the atrocity of Spring/Summer 2009. He deserved every form of critical slander for that piece of work), he has been pretty consistent. I think we are blaming the wrong person to say this is too trendy. Because those elements have been in his work before they became trends, Spring/Summer 2007 is an obvious example in comparison to this collection of him widening his own ideas.

Perhaps, it will be a challenge for fashion editors to take the Tisci’s language and render into a new form. Pairing it with something unexpected or showing it worn out of context. When you really break this collection down there are quite a few stunningly tailored and versatile pieces. Plus I have a feeling a lot of the punch lines to Tisci’s work is in the fabrication. To see it in person, to touch it and wear it, is when the meaning starts to surface. Plus, I am really quite impressed that on the striped blazers the lines from the body match with the sleeves!!! That, I know after having studied tailoring, is a mean feat!

I’m curious to know if you think this collection, under different styling direction could be made more classic (equalling, longevity appeal)? To remove any trace of toughness, do you think that would help?

Either way, you must, if the opportunity arises, do a story around your Rochas girl (and her chic gay friends)!


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