I Was A Guy From Nowhere

Maybe it’s all summer’s fault, maybe I’m really falling out of love with fashion, but it’s quite difficult for me to get excited about something happening in this world. News arrive and go at an astonishing speed; everything is “amazing” for one second, but something even more noteworthy is just around the corner. The result is that your mind is constantly flooded with information, but what is really relevant? Everybody seems to be a fashion expert, so writing about what others have written weakens motivation. The only aspect of fashion which still keeps its fascination intact is Haute Couture, the extraordinary realm where fashion dreams can still come true, and Riccardo Tisci, head designer at Givenchy, surely masters this art.

Analyzing the evolution of his career is a journey through a growing self-consciousness about his designing skills. In the fall 2012 collection, presented just a few days ago in Paris, a mature approach to design is probably the first thing that one can’t help but notice. Recurring inspring themes (Japan), decorations (3D embroideries and fringes) and tailoring details (geometric and rounded lines) can be found in this collection: they are an ideal fil rouge connecting all his recent Haute Couture creations.

Tisci is a traveller, as it can be inferred from his collections, but it’s not only a question of moving and visiting faraway countries: it’s a state of mind, the desire to know new cultures and to draw inspiration from them. Fashion – intended as a relevant aspect of self-expression and mirror of society – is turned into a constant flow where present and past merge, along with tailoring elements coming from other countries. Gypsy foklore has surely influenced the designer, who has given us a unique set of dresses and evening coats in a beautiful colour palette – black, caramel, brown, with flashes of fiery red.

After the old-school gym location for the spring 2012 collection, this time models posed outdoors, in a park: trees and vegetation provided the ideal backdrop for the dramatic set of outfits. As usual, Tisci named each outfit after the model who wore it – a detail I always like pointing out because it’s a sort of personal homage from the designer to the models.

Joan – Joan Smalls wore a silk satin organza jacket hand-painted in a beige-to-black dégradè; the shoulders are embroidered with beads and beaded fringes with the same dégradè. The outfit also includes a draped silk jersey halter top with beaded fringes showing the same dégradè, and black beaded harem pants in silk organza with beaded pleated belt. The dégradè effect is impressive, and so is the mixture of different textures: the beaded jacket is like dripping in light, while the trousers have a lamé effect.

Lea – Lea T wore a dramatic black leather fringed cape, embellished with black leather strips and metal rings. Under the cape she wore a black fringed nappa halter dress with a 3D leather front embroidery. Words fail when it comes to comment on this outfit: it speaks of an ancient past, old traditions and long journeys through wild landscapes.

Ajak – Ajak Deng wore another cape, made of black silk organza and velvet embroidered in red; the same motif can be found in the red and black beaded fringes which finish the cape. She also wore a harem jumpsuit with beaded knitted bodice and boot pants in velvet, embroidered with gros grain and beads, cinched with a large silk satin pleated belt. The embroidered motif of this cape is amazing: it reminds me of North-African traditional embroideries. The black velvet and the red and black beaded fringes add further drama.

Maria – Maria wore a black velvet dress with large leather embroidered belt, leather fringed bodice, long sleeves embellished with two rows of long leather fringes and shoulder pads in braided leather. This is definitely one of my favourite dresses: I think the fringed back (it creates a cape effect) is sublime. I’m not sure of the rhomb-shaped belt, but the dress makes such an impression that I can easily oversee that detail.

Liya – Liya Kebede wore a short kimono-sleeved tail coat in trimmed brown mink; laser cuts form a fur lace embroidered with red caged crystals and red leather covered crystals. She also wore a beige lace blouse embroidered with red caged crystals and a beige wool skirt embroidered with wool-covered elements in a 3D motif. The coat is amazing: besides the incredible handiwork of that intricate red embroidery, what I love is the shape, where the traditional tailcoat (exaggerated in length) mixes with echoes from Japan.
Daniela – Daniela Braga wore a brown nappa dress with short kimono sleeves; the skirt is made of suede. The bodice of the dress is made of braided leather strips and is embellishedwith 3D leather braids (forming a floral motif) and tassels. Despite being all covered up, this dress reveals a sexy detail – the thigh-high slit. The simple bodice beautifully contrasts with the waist-line, embellished by those adorable tassels.
Grace B – Grace Bol wore a short kimono-sleeved coat with cropped back in red lacquered laser-sculpted brown mink. She also wore a dress in beige crepe de chine embroidered with a 3D motif; the back has inserts of embroidered beige lace. This coat is an evolution of the one worn by Liya Kebede: the use of rounded lines is inverted, because in this case the front present straight lines and the back a rounded line. I actually prefer the tail coat, but this one is beautiful, too.
Cora – Cora Emmanuel wore a nude draped dress – the cape-like bodice is made of trimmed mink; the inside of the sleeves is embroidered and the skirt is made of double silk satin. This dress stands out in the collection for its architectural simplicity, but it’s far from being plain.
Grace M – Grace Mahari wore a black silk crepe halter dress with attached halter cape. The inside of the cape is embroidered with brown patent leather sequins. The same motif is found on the front of the dress in a 3D version with bronze metal, patent and matte leather sequins. There’s something mesmerizing in the back of the dress – the bare back and the off-shoulder cape, the pleats and the overlapping layers of the skirt and of the cape.
Lakshmi – Lakshmi Menon wore a bareback caramel dress in trimmed mink; the skirt is made of wool crepe: the back is embellished with a laser-cut motif in heat-bonded leather silk crepe. In this case, too, the back of the dress is far more interesting than the front: the bare back and the intricate laser-cut motif are stunning. I can see a certain similarity between this motif and the ones seen in the black and red cape and in the black leather one – those motifs were pointed, while this one has a braid shape.
The ability with which Tisci imbued these formal evening dresses with a modern gypsy vibe shows his maturity and the perfect balance that his skills have achieved. I loved the futuristic take of his first collection, but I must admit he has become insuperable when it comes to designing Haute Couture with a dramatic (but not costumey) mood. Now I’m looking forward to seeing who will be the first celebrity to sport one of these beauties on the red carpet? Any bets?
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6 comments

  1. Hey, what a detailed post, love it.
    My favourite are – of course – the ones on Grace B and Liya Kabede (ot: she really is one on the most graceful women ever), the fur lace is incredible (sorry about the minks, but it is a work of some very skillful artisans), the red stones, the leathers workings, it’s all perfect.
    I love the capes and the kimono sleeves, I can see more ancient Japan than ‘gipsy’ as the press release says. I would like to try on everything, especially the Maria and the Grace M. ! (dream on…)

    I wish Tisci would consider designing for a movie, something like Tarsem Singh’s movies. Whta do you think?

    1. Liya is an amazing outfit: besides the dress, I think the mink coat is really a work of art. I usually don’t like furs, but no one can deny the mink details add a dramatic touch to the garment. Maria is incredible, too: it has a lovely Gothic vibe.

      I wish Tisci designed for a movie, and Tarsem Singh’s imagery would be perfect for him. Who knows? Tisci could decide to become a costume designer, sooner or later… I hope so!

  2. Nell’affannato,confuso,ansioso talvolta delirante mondo fashion,questi giorni HC sono stati un piacevole guardare,io adoro i dettagli il lavoro sartoriale,il poco ma bello,il fascino del capo unico senza stagioni.
    Nel caso di Tisci,non so chi indosserá cosa,ma spero di vedere qualcuno indossare Maria in una notte scura a piedi nudi.
    A.

    1. “Delirante” è l’aggettivo più calzante. Sai quale è la cosa peggiore? Che tutti (designer, giornalisti, blogger) si affannano per sembrare diversi, ma alla fine tutti entrano in un gran calderone di notizie/immagini/opinioni talmente caotico che alla fine più nessuno riesce a distinguersi.

  3. I really like Maria, but my absolute favourite is Grace M.
    I just love the way the dress curves around the back, and the belt details. It reminds me of something a very powerful sorceress would wear, and that is what fascinates me the most, when fashion allows you to create a story- perhaps even a history- for the clothes.

    1. Tisci is definitely a master at creating fashion stories and this collection is an example of what he can do. Grace M is beautiful, but the waist embroidered detail doesn’t convince me much; the back of the dress is terrific, though.

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