Finding Jesus: Givenchy Men’s Spring 2016

After seasons of unabashed embellishment, Riccardo Tisci wisely cleansed our palate at Givenchy. There was indeed a new spareness, relatively speaking. A new modesty, even, to his offerings for spring 2016, and it made for his best collection in seasons.

The Italian designer sent out a compendium of his aesthetic touchstones. There was streamlined tailoring, often pinstriped. His signature men’s skirts were available in a knitted version, and worn with luxed-up versions of jelly shoes. The religious imagery he favors resurfaced with prints of Jesus Christ’s agonizing, thorn-crowned head on many pieces, including a terrific, clear plastic sweatshirt. The other print of the season was an alphabet soup of Givenchy on sportswear in the couleur du jour: blue. His love of Americana could be seen in stars-and-stripes patterns, cowboy stitching, and workwear (the overalls are sure to be a hit). Jewelry was reduced to giant key pendants. Even the embroideries were low-key and more graphic, like the rest of the collection.

Interspersed were women’s haute couture creations, sheer and fringed confections that were exquisitely made, obviously. They didn’t overshadow the menswear, which has become a metaphor for Tisci’s tenure at Givenchy. His success and cultural potency with men’s has in many ways surpassed women’s.

What the show also made clear, as usual, is that Tisci is a casting maestro, promoting diversity, booking beefcakes, rounding up all the girls of the moment, and nabbing the indomitable Naomi Campbell, who looked as fierce as her scheming character in Empire. 


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