The first thing that hit you at the Givenchy space today was the heavy scent of incense and the sound of church organs. As if we didn’t already know we were about to receive a religious experience.

Disciples of Riccardo Tisci were aplenty, with a strong majority of the audience covered in the tropical bird-of-paradise prints from this spring, with several sporting those oversized nose rings. The arched entrance to the runway was made of tiny white flowers, while the runway itself was pristine white, perhaps suggesting we were in for a sartorial exorcism.

The show started abruptly. The models—including Stella Tennant—didn’t let you take a breath, shooting out quick-fire without much space between them. The lines were clean, the tailoring impeccable. The Givenchy man was ready for business, but he hadn’t forgotten his ecclesiastical roots, or at least Tisci’s roots. Tees and layered bombers had Catholic iconography splashed all over them, and there was even a sparkling new piece of facial jewelry, a bridge piercing. 

This was, however, a more disciplined approach, and the overall effect was spellbinding. The color palette of red, black and white was punctuated by an unexpected baby pink, which looked fresh and modern. Priestly tabards became panels of ultra-light fabric that hung down like coattails. Even the sandals fit the bill. Despite their heavy chains, they looked like they could walk on water. 

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