In May, Givenchy’s Riccardo Tisci will co-host (with Anna Wintour) the Met Gala in New York. The theme this year, Punk: Chaos to Couture, has apparently drawn his attention as his show notes indicated that he was taking his Latino men to the world of rock.
Punk, and its attendant rock style, has been endlessly regurgitated by fashion designers since the first Mohawks were erected in London decades ago. Wisely, Tisci has manipulated these references. Black, white, and charcoal gray dominated the show, while leather came as inserts on wonderful duffle coats, pointy shoes sported metallic clasps, zippers traced a triangle motif on coats and vests, and studs closed shirts and shirt pockets. All the while, punk legend Rowland S. Howard’s anthem of unrequited love, She Cried, blared from the speakers.
In fact, the show was Tisci-esque in the straightforward tailoring (this time with collarless jackets), as well as the esoteric, ritual-like setting, with candles set in circles on the runway. Also classic Tisci were the cool styling of down jackets tied like a sweater around the waist of pants and short shorts, in addition to an inverted ode to Americana with an X-ray version of an upside-down Stars and Stripes print on a T-shirt. And there was a welcome nod to the 1990s with Jenny Shimizu on the runway and Kristen McMenamy beaming in the front row.
And yet, here is a designer who, in just a smattering of shows, has changed the menswear discourse, reuniting couture and street style, all while redefining standards of beauty with his outstanding castings. We come to Givenchy looking for the must-have items that will soon be the zeitgeist, as he did with his Rottweiler sweaters and his bright Bird of Paradise motifs.
But this time around, his casting looked surprisingly less distinctive. The sweaters (some with an argyle pattern), printed with images presumably inspired by Robert Mapplethorpe, and the superhero sweatshirts sprouting stiches were absolute winners. But they produced a wow, not the usual pow.