Wednesday, July 7, 2010


Posted by Fashion Editor at Large

Riccardo Tisci of Givenchy was having none of that fashion show malarkey this season. This designer marked his tenth couture collection for the house by casting aside the fashion show format altogether. Tongues wagged at first – financial trouble? Loss of confidence? Nope. He wants to show off.

Haute Couture is best viewed in close-up. How else to appreciate the 1000 hours of embroidery in a single gown? A fashion show can’t do this, as well Tisci knows, so his alternative was fabulously logical: face time with the clothes with all the detail you could want about the work. Voila – surely the future way to show couture?

Within an exquisite four room apartment at the historic Hotel d'Evreux on Place Vendome he showed ten looks suspended from sleek steel beams and beautifully day-lit to highlight the thousands of hours of work. These were clothes for hard-bodied women with millions in the bank, major events to attend and the confidence to wear either pure white, pale blush or blinging gold. No black in this collection!

Tisci loosely worked with two themes: the Mexican Day of the Dead tradition – and all its associated humorously macabre nick-nacks from skeletons to skulls and his favourite symbol, the crucifix – and the passions of Frida Kahlo.

I loved the humour of his bodysuit in blush tulle, sheer bar for the lace appliqué delicately mapping out a human skeleton. A 100% gold crystal studded gown Tisci developed from the dress he created for Lara Stone when she married David Walliams was also present. Most beautiful was the thickly fringed sculptural jackets – a Givenchy jacket is a thing of wonder. You don’t see shoes that appear to have been dipped in porcelain everyday, or sculptural rings resembling vertebrae made from solid silver and dipped in alabaster (below). Of course it was all utterly magnificent to behold.

The best factoid of the entire visit, though, was news that Riccardo Tisci’s former male PA, is now a female model called Lea T, who is currently much in demand on the high fashion circuit. Lea is in the group picture below that was the last stop on the Givenchy couture tour. Can you tell which one she is?

I guessed straightaway, only because she was the only model I didn't instantly recognise. This then made me think - what hope would a non-fashion person have picking the man among these amazonians?

To read more on Lea T's inspiring story click, here for a Guardian interview; here for a Huffington Post round-up on Lea T media, and here for a more in-depth story about living as a transexual, or with gender dysphoria. Also check out this website, if you want to take your studies further.

Photos: Fashion Editor at Large