Black Mass Rising: GIVENCHY Paris Fashion Week 2015-16
Italian born designer Riccardo Tisci is famed for revitalizing the Givenchy brand. Known for his gothic sensibilities influenced by his strict catholic upbringing, his hard edged minimalism and his referencing of American subcultures; a designer who has forged a particular niche in the luxury fashion world for creating edgy aggressive, but street-ready garments equally suited to a superstar rapper on stage as kid of the streets of Los Angeles. For Givenchy’s fall/winter collection, the gothic touch was not a subtle or ghostly one but rather a visceral theatrical horror fashion extravaganza with references to 1990s horror film figure Freddy Krueger and dried blood amongst the copious horror tropes, thrusting the viewer into a dark and dramatic world.
Whereas the monastic catholic atmosphere had enthused some previous collections this was the flip-side; an embrace of the darkness. The atmosphere of an infernal black mass was the order or the day in a venue filled with atmospheric spooky antiques sourced from the shadowy corners of the American hinterland. Assembled press and buyers were seated around a maze-like ruby red glitter covered runway; a bloody vein threading through the waiting masses. When the models emerged from the darkness there could be no doubt as to their sinister intention: faces made to reference fearsome African masks were fused with a demonic presence, with faces eerily obscured, lips stitched together or festooned with beads looking more like an infection then ornamentation. The razor sharp tailored garments came in darkest of black suits outlined in red, tough gangster pinstripe suits were subverted by knee length skirts, while delicate semi sheer t-shirts were cleverly layered to reveal images of hollow eyed skulls and dried blood. A devilish depiction that showed Riccardo Tisci’s ability to cleverly mine his own personal obsession to find new covetable goods for his dark-eyed acolytes.