I Was a Guy from Nowhere

The idea of lightness of feathers is the main source of inspiration of Givenchy Haute Couture fall/winter 2011 collection along with angels and birds of paradise, which, according to Riccardo Tisci, sparked his imagination while designing the collection. After taking us on a journey to Mexico and to Japan, he retreats into a romantic, feminine and feather-light world, where the exquisite craftmanship and the intricate embellishments turn linear dresses into works of art.

His obsession with the ideas of mystery, purity, gothicism, the cult of the saints, death and redemption can be all found in this collection, which actually lacks a strong thread connecting all the creations. This doesn’t mean it’s not as interesting as the previous collections, but you know how much I love recurring themes! Moreover, this time he wanted to change things a bit, choosing a new location for the presentation.

He chose the wharves of the Seine river, to emphasize the contrast between the aethereal quality of the dresses and the urban background, characterized by the cobblestone pavement and the arched bridge on the water. In addition to this, he named each dress after a model, the model who is wearing the dress in each of the pictures below, a sort of homage to beautiful women who have certainly served as further sources of inspiration.

This is Caroline, a dress named after Caroline Trentini.

She wore an evening gown in off-white silk tulle, embroidered with tone-on-tone pearls, chinched with a golden metal thin belt. The dress is worn under a bolero-sweater in ivory tulle, entirely embroidered with pearls and raw cashmere knots; the bottom part of the sweater is round, it has a longer front and shoulder zips (ready-to-wear elements).

This is Mariacarla, named after Riccardo Tisci’s muse, the Italian model Mariacarla Boscono.

She wore an evening gown in off-white silk tulle: the blouse has pony-skin piping, appliqué of Chantilly lace and three-dimensional elements of macramé lace. The waist is chinched by a pony-skin belt, perforated by golden eyelets and laced with leather strings, worn under a thin belt of golden metal and stingray. The long skirt is embellished with Chantilly lace appliqué. I particularly like this dress because of the high front neckline, contrasting with the mostly naked back.

Saskia has been named after the model Saskia de Brauw.

This bareback evening gown is made of ivory washed satin. The blouse has pleated herringbones basques and is chinched with a thin belt of satin and golden metal; it is worn under an ivory bolero-sweater, entirely embroidered with macramé lace and pearls. As in Caroline, the sweater has a round bottom, a longer back and shoulder zips. The heavily embellished blouse and sweaters are sublime, but the basques at the waist are somehow distracting.

Zuzanna pays homage to Zuzanna Bijoch and to the lovely plumage of birds of paradise.

This evening gown is made of beige silk tulle: the bodice has pony-skin piping and is embroidered with curly goose feathers. The waist is chinched with a pony-skin belt, perforated by golden eyelets and laced with leather strings, worn under a thin belt of golden metal and stingray (wearing two belts at the same time recurs in the collection). The long skirt with Chantilly lace appliqué is embroidered with ostrich feathers. The heavenly quality of the dress is emphasized by a clutch completely embellished by ostrich feathers.

Kasia has been named after Kasia Bobula.

The evening gown is made of white silk tulle with appliqué in Chantilly lace; bodice and sleeves are embellished with satin and pony-skin piping. This is one of my favourite dresses, because it has an ineffable mood, where fragility and strenght blend: I guess it’s because of the satin inserts on the bodice and because of the beautiful opening on the back.

Daphne Groeneveld is one of my favourite models of the younger generation: she’s only 16, but I think she’s got what it takes to become a shining star in the world of fashion. Tisci chose her as the face of Givenchy in the spring/summer 2011 campaign, and Marc Jacobs picked her for Louis Vuitton fall/winter 2011 advertising campaign, shot by Steven Meisel. I’m glad Tisci named this beautiful dress after her.

She wore a zipped bareback evening gown in nude tulle, embroidered with Chantilly lace sequins to create an off-white degrade effect, going from head to toe, from completely see-through to darker hues. This original use of lace, the ruffled effect on the dress and its shape (with the hips slightly emphasized and the skirt opening on the bottom) reminds me of the silhouette Edwardian dresses had between 1900 and 1907.

Iselin has been named after the model Iselin Steiro.

This bareback evening gown is made of nude tulle, embroidered with tulle sequins in different sizes, forming a textured degrade effect here and there; the bodice has tone on tone nappa leather piping. There are some points in common between this dress and Daphne, but I prefer this one: the degrade effect here is more refined, and the naked back is just gorgeous.

Joan is a homage to the model Joan Smalls.

This greige tulle evening gown has the blouse entirely embroidered with a golden thread and small fringes of pearls, weighed down by pendants of pearls; the long skirt has pearl-embroidered pinstripes, worn under a sleeveless organza tunic, embroidered with pearls. I must admit this dress left me puzzled at first, starting from it colour – greige is a colour blending grey and beige; but then I started appreciating its awesome details. The shape – it looks like a shift dress – has actually no relation with the dresses we’ve seen so far, but it introduces a set of three dresses with the same features.

Valeriya has been named after Valeriya Melnik.

This evening gown in ivory organza has a bodice with detachable zipped sleeves and is entirely embroidered with small beads in a beige-to-white degrade Chantilly-lace appliqué, embellished with pearls forming the shape of a 3-d flower on the front and on the back. The long tulle skirt is made of two short side panels of pearl fringes and a long panel in the front and in the back. This style represents a connection between the apparent minimalism of Joan and the intricately embellished dresses above. The theme of fringes is amplified by the clutch, whose fringes are super-long.

Izabel is a homage to Izabel Goulart.

This evening gown in nude tulle has a see-through bodice with applications of thin golden chains to create the shape of a flower on the front and on the back; the long skirt has chain-embroidered pinstripes, two rows of fringed side panels and a long panel on the front and on the back. It’s the only dress of the collection which overtly introduces a nude effect on the bodice, but – just like Joan and Valeriya – it plays with the themes of fringes and flower decorations.

I admired in awe these amazing dresses, but I must admit the whole collection left me quite cold, and I haven’t understood what the problem is yet. As I said before, maybe this is due to a lack of main cultural theme (the same happened with Atelier Versace spring 2011 collection), an absence which usually doesn’t spark my imagination.

Source and source.



    1. The last three dresses (those fringed) are my least favourite. My favourite is probably Kasia, followed by Iselin.

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