The dark side, never far from the surface of Riccardo Tisci’s oeuvre, was given free rein in Givenchy’s equestrian-inspired fall collection. Today, presaged by a galloping soundtrack, he indulged in horsemanship’s kinkiest connotations. Silk and velvet jodhpurs and pleat-front pants were tucked into knee-high riding boots, while sweeping capes evoked ceremonial riding habits. Hunting jackets with cutaway backs were studded with gold insignia and heavy blinder-like earrings, suggested a deviant dressage.

Oozing sadomasochistic sexuality, here were skintight dresses in paneled leather—the defining fabric—with chin-high necklines and rigid, armorial peplums. Elsewhere, leather was quilted and transposed into raglan-sleeved coats and pants that were impossibly chic and relatively wearable. Always besotted with powerful women, Tisci clearly wanted his models to portray an occult strength.

A moment of softness was promised then instantly undermined in the silk, laced-edge lingerie-like slips, which were belted and paired with thick chokers and long leather gloves so tight they could have been latex. Knife-pleat midi skirts were rendered in cowhide while voluminous pussycat bow blouses were transformed with sheer red and black chiffon with sinuous ties.

With a strangely seventies eroticism, pieces were heavily fetishized—no surprise that Tisci cited Guy Bourdin as an influence. Perhaps these women were once well-to-do housewives bitten by a vampire or otherwise depraved; Pat McGrath’s gothic make-up certainly suggested this. Not his most subtle showing, perhaps, but one that will set the fashion agenda.

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