Riccardo Tisci is a trouble-maker. Since his appointment at the creative helm of Givenchy in 2005, Tisci has been turning the codes and standards of the French heritage house upside down, making Givenchy his own with his culturally loaded women's and men's ready-to-wear collections.
But Couture is also important in Tisci's world, and the sophisticated yet edgy numbers that he sent down the runway in the middle of his F/W16 menswear show made a lasting impression. “I always combine the influence of the street and Haute Couture. When I do Couture I get my inspiration from the streets,” stated the designer about the iconic New York runway show he staged with artist Marina Abramović (Spring/Summer 2016) – his most relevant show so far that epitomizes what Givenchy is about today.
"Riccardo Tisci paints it pink at Givenchy”
But what makes Givenchy so special? Tisci's distinctive aesthetics often come with an ethnic twist, a Gothic appeal, a fetish edge, and a nod to urban-wear – a style which has his clothes selling like hot cakes. So much so that the Italian designer has been able to attract an ever-growing fan-base over the past years – a fashion-hungry tribe of Givenchy worshippers who constantly represent and adore Tisci's unique creative identity.
In this sense, Givenchy's latest F/W16 menswear offering – elegant tailoring with Americana style references and rough and sensual edges – was a continuation of his previous work: a sublimation of youth culture in a multi-cultural environment, which reminds us that the cultural diversity and open-mindedness we see on a Givenchy runway is also the one we should be constantly seeing on our streets. Think pink, as pink as Givenchy's menswear show location – the brighter the better. “It doesn’t matter where you come from or which religion you are, and it doesn’t matter which atelier you work for or what your sexual preference is,” stated the designer once. “We are all on the same level, capable of feeling love.”
“Comme des Garçons's Rei Kawakubo said it with flowers”
Rei Kawakubo, for her part, sent modern day warriors down the runway adorned with flowery headdresses. As they walked across the room nonchalantly, Kawakubo's Comme des Garçons models channeled a certain romance, a rebellious one. For this F/W16 menswear collection, the designer actually decided to update traditional men's tailoring with armor-inspired cuts and patterns. And this design process was as eclectic as it was desirable: as the show went on, the silhouettes morphed through different styles and yet the general picture of this new collection conveyed a harmonious take on evolution through a men's wardrobe.
In a similar attempt of romance, Mihara Yasuhiro took us back in the early twentieth century and paid homage to August Sander's artistic expression. The German portrait and documentary photographer is famous for his book "Face of our Time," which was published in between the two world wars. In this sense, Yasuhiro offered his very own take on modern-day heroes, and his models sported eclectic tailored silhouettes which came with a lot of attention to hand-made details. "Patches distorted, holes frayed – I wanted to present this incompletion as complete in my collection," explained the designer. "There is a strength in itself which completely reflects the person wearing it. I want people to feel the beauty of incompletion, the warmth of the owners, the memories of their lives from the clothes they left behind," concluded the Japanese designer.
"Margiela is all about Friede, Freude, Eierkuchen"
Elsewhere, Maison Margiela's men were on a mission toward "finding humanity and acknowledging the machine," as the show notes read. In other words: Margiela's show called for love in an industrial age – a quest that was underlined by heavy Love Parade-inspired techno beats throughout the show. Or as the Maison put it in German: it was all about "Friede, Freude, Eierkuchen," an idiom that stands for a naive take on love, peace, and harmony and denounces the carefree and seemingly superficial attitude of society. The clothes, for their part, were an interesting take on outerwear, which came in deconstructed, stone-washed, cut & shred styles. Knitwear was also particularly worth seeing and wearing, as it came with a resin finishing, and Margiela's contemporary contrasts – techno meets tailoring and deconstruction – paid homage to the founder's unique signature style.
Berluti eventually ended the day with a F/W16 menswear collection that truly stood out from the jam-packed fashion week schedule. Alessandro Sartori perfectly knows how to transform Berluti's century-old heritage into desirable, of-the-moment menswear. And his latest runway show at le Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris was just further proof of his ability to transcend history and celebrate Italian craftsmanship in a contemporary way. As always, his designs were timeless and trend-less, meant to last in a men's wardrobe. This season, however, he added a dark touch to his “easy tailoring” signature style. Inspired by tattoo artist Scott Campbell, Sartori updated his men's wardrobe with smoky and ink colored hues and a distinct sense for edginess. One thing is certain: whether channeling effortless chic or sophisticated tailoring, Alessandro Sartori knows how to express refinement and comfort like no other.