Saturday, 29 January 2011

Close To Perfection II: Givenchy Haute Couture - Spring/Summer 2011

For just a few days each January and July, with the tradition and dependability akin to the changing of the palace guards outside of Buckingham Palace, Paris becomes the centre of the fashion cosmos as its venerable couture Houses show their collections and the world is reminded, once more, of the reason for Paris's premiere, undisputed position as the world's fashion capital. Beginning on the 24th and lasting till the 27th of January, the spring and summer 2011 collections were shown; the spectacle of the couture collections never fails to impress, inspire, or entertain.

On Tuesday, January the 25th, Riccardo Tisci showed his latest collection for the House of Givenchy. In what appeared to be a sequel to last July's intimate couture showing, Tisci showed at the same venue. Once again, the designer's patent philosophy that quality is preferable to quantity was evident in this tiny collection of ten, masterfully crafted pieces, linking it with last July's. When viewed in this context and one takes into account the number of models shown by other, more conspicuous Houses, this becomes glaringly obvious and true: Christian Dior, 32; Valentino, 40; Armani Privé, 41; Jean-Paul Gaultier, 47; Chanel, 66. But craftsmanship, artistry and design integrity have never been about quantity.

Riccardo Tisci ~ Vogue Paris, February 2008

According to's fashion reporter, Tim Blanks, Tisci's point-of-departure for this collection was "...the Japan of robot toys and the dancer Kazuo Ohno, whose intensely ritualized style of performance, called Butoh, was a huge influence on Tisci's friend, the singer Antony Hegarty. When Ohno died, Antony and the Johnsons performed a tribute concert that so inspired Tisci, the dead man became a sort of muse for the designer." From Ohno, Tisci's colour palette - that of dried flowers - was inspired while robots were the source of inspiration for the appliqués, the ornamentation, the shoes, and Philip Treacy's shogunal hats.

It is reported that one ensemble required an astounding two thousand hours of cutting and four thousand hours of sewing to complete and a single pair of trousers consumed ninety meters of plissé  (a fabric with a wrinkled or pleated finish which is achieved by treating it with caustic soda). But there was more: organza was laser-cut and appliquéd onto the chiffon and tulle of some models, creating a three-dimensional effect, while the skirts of other ensembles were (ostrich) feathered and bore Tisci's trademark dégradé effect; one bodice, encrusted with Swarovski crystals and pearls, "...began to pop like fish eyes as the dress moved."  As with the Fall/Winter 2010 couture collection, under Tisci's guidance, the technical skills demanded of the Givenchy atelier to achieve a collection of this calibre are both superb and spectacular. (Source & quotes: Blanks, T.,, January 25, 2011)

The above twenty-two images are all courtesy of Givenchy

(Couture is in the details)

Video courtesy of:  ~ YouTube

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