Riccardo Tisci was feeling spooked for A/W 15. He'd dressed his venue like a haunted house - full of remnants of voodoo and other dark matters collected during his travels. But that's apt for Tisci; he is fashion's master of the dark arts, in that he can make even the most graphic and gruesome motif look luxurious, whether it's a barking Rottweiler or burning flames. He seduces with darkness too - see the Gothic, bewitching womenswear he offers. He'd taken both approaches tonight, one aggressive and obvious, one quieter and more romantic. The former came through in the styling tricks, the showy themed pins attached to model's suits and the glittering and gruesome face paint by make-up artist Pat McGrath. The latter was seen in the stronger looks with more considered detail - the great suits with blood red piping and the bold, patterned coats that melted from colour to jet black using sequins, giving the illusion of light fading. That's an image worthy of the climax of a horror movie, the point where the light goes and the action happens. That's a good motif for this collection; it was Tisci's darkest yet and also his strongest for a while. It was aggressive and forceful, as Givenchy shows usually are, but also complex and unsettling, like a strong film it kept you on the edge of your seat. Unlike his shows of recent seasons, filled with endless sweatshirts and printed t-shirts, you couldn't predict the plot. It was full of twists and turns, particularly when Tisci prioritised tailoring and new suiting styles over casualwear.
As with all good horror films things started conservative and safe. We were lulled into a sense of security with those pinstripe jackets and long-length cardigans. But then came the warning signs of trouble, the point where you scream at your screen ('Why would you go alone into a forest!', 'Don't go into that basement!', 'He's behind you!'). The final act - the moment we were waiting for - was that rug-printed outwear in rich red and black hues. The pattern was almost definitely a reference to fabrics and styles found on Tisci's exotic travels, but given the scary vibe one couldn't help but think back to that carpet in The Shining. Tisci had offset any negative illusions with opulent sequin embroidery, turning this from spooky to showy to fit the tastes of the Givenchy shopper.
Throughout the collection, some jackets and coats came furnished with badges featuring the number 17. What was the reference? It's hard to say. In Italy, Tisci's native country, it's considered a very unlucky number, according to legend. Maybe that was the point - maybe it was there to fit the dark theme. Or perhaps, one hopes, he was thinking along Tarot lines and referencing 17's association with the stars and its role as a predictor that wishes will come true. Tisci is no doubt burning bright and if anyone had theories that his Givenchy output was becoming repetitive or safe, then now they can see his star shining stronger than ever.