By Miles Socha
Given the shock of the Brexit vote that coincided with Day Three of the Paris men’s shows, it was hard not the think of roiling currencies watching Givenchy’s parade of military parkas in greenback prints that approximated camouflage. Shame on us because Riccardo Tisci had something more lofty in mind. “Spirituality, seeing with your third eye,” he said backstage. “Money sometimes makes us forget that.”
Overcharged with busy prints — plus zippers and utility pockets galore — this was no zen statement. “It was more like a trip in a spiritual way,” Tisci said.
The boredom of the one-hour-plus wait — blamed on last-minute alterations — created a sense of anticlimax that at first was hard to shake, but the open-air show in a vast schoolyard was ultimately mesmerizing in its flurry of pattern, panels peeling off at the solar-plexus chakra and round mirrors glinting from the hems of polo shirts or the waists of chic black coats.
Like Miuccia Prada in Milan, Tisci rigged his models for some kind of journey, backpacks laden with blankets — or split into three laptop-sized pouches attached to a harness.
The pants, as loose and flowing as sweat pants and often licked with stripes, gave the collection an athletic aspect — as did the chunky, graphic hiking sneakers. While the checkerboard patterns skewed a bit close to Louis Vuitton’s Damier check, Tisci said the reference was games. “The game of life,” he mused.
The designer once again embedded his fall 2016 couture collection in his men’s showcase, leapfrogging the high fashion season by more than a week. Goddess gowns with elaborate pleats and draping, at times approximating fancy icing, stood out in their monochrome simplicity, animated here and there with silvery or mirrored embroideries.
Tisci’s message at a delicate juncture for Europe seemed clear: It’s time for reflection.