Riccardo Tisci has clearly discarded his dark, gothic roots. His spring collection for Givenchy was focused on the body, its strength and sex appeal. He swapped out his pin-up references of last season for a kind of modern mermaid. To illustrate the point, he sent out a line-up of strong, toned and sexy girls, opening the show with Natalia Vodianova and closing it with Gisele Bundchen.
This time there was barely a print in sight, and besides the inevitable black, the color palette was lightened up with an emphasis on pale pink, a favored shade this season. Embellishment was strictly tonal, but could be seen in the form of perforated leather and reflective sequins resembling a fish tail.
To open the show, out marched scuba-suit tight trousers worn with a dropped lapel sleeveless jacket, followed by several other versions shown with an oversized shark-tooth necklace, which clearly appealed to Kanye West and his hip-hop posse sitting center front.
But Tisci quickly moved on, showing a series of white dresses with undulating layers, or waves of fabric breaking across the body. Dresses and suits were short and body-hugging, recalling the 80s, with the front lapel curving into waist-cinching peplum (peplum has been a key design feature at several houses this season). He ran with this idea in sheer organza, solid tailoring and the odd textured print, culminating in a silver sequined version that must have been a shock of excitement to junkies of tungsten metal who crave the spotlight. High-waisted suspension skirts were supported by a heavy chain strap that was slung over tailored shirting.
After a long wait to start, the fast and furious pace of the show and girls high up on straight stiletto heels was exhilarating. But despite all its sex appeal, this was ultimately a commercial collection that broke little new ground. Perhaps Tisci is saving his soulful mastery for couture, but I do miss the courage of his earlier shows when he sent out an army of black girls in glasses or a gray-haired Kristen McMenamy down a mile-long runway. Powerful and, yes, a bit dark.