Forget croissants and café au lait. French fashion house Givenchy took a bite out of the Big Apple as it debuted its spring/summer 2016 collection in New York instead of Paris, for the first time, on Friday (Sept 11) night. Brand creative director Riccardo Tisci, in an interview with Life after the show, cited the city as a source of much inspiration.
"There's the big American dream," the 41-year-old Italian said in soft-spoken, accented English. "New York is a place that gives opportunities to the young generation, a place that allows people to express themselves and find their identity. It can be classic, diplomatic and transgressive," he added, of the city's engaging, multi-faceted appeal. "For somebody creative, I think it's a place you want to be."
The event, which took place at Pier 26 on Manhattan's West Side, came on the heels of the brand opening a 4,300 sq ft flagship store at 747 Madison Avenue two weeks ago. Currently the only standalone store in New York, it is part of the brand's push to re-focus on the US market.
Celebrity supporters and fashion big shots alike filled the show's front rows. Attendees included actresses Julia Roberts, the face of the label's Spring 2015 campaign, and Amanda Seyfried, as well as singers Nicki Minaj and Steven Tyler.
Ardent Tisci supporters Kanye West and Kim Kardashian West, among the last to arrive, made an appearance as well. Fellow designers such as Michael Kors, Alexander Wang, Joseph Altuzarra, and Proenza Schouler's Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez were also on hand to extend their support.
In an unprecedented move, the Givenchy show was also open to the public. About 1,200 extra tickets were given out to spectators. The brand set aside 280 tickets for students and faculty at the Fashion Institute of Technology, Parsons The New School for Design, Pratt Institute and the High School for Fashion Industries, and the rest were distributed through an online balloting system.
At the show, which was viewed by a 4,000-strong crowd, the spectators stood on a platform along the pier while industry guests sat on wooden crates. The industrial chic vibe of the place, which also included raised artist installations directed by Serbian artist and close collaborator Marina Abramovic, stood in stark contrast to the romance of the collection.
About 80 looks, including ready-to-wear, menswear and couture, were paraded alongside a haunting multilingual chant and the strains of Ave Maria. Lace was clearly the dominant fabric, with many outfits featuring the feminine textile. Silks, feathers and pajama-like silhouettes also added to the underlying sensual theme of the collection.
This year also marks Tisci's 10th anniversary with Givenchy. He took on the reins of the storied French house after studying at Central Saint Martins College of Arts and Design in London and stints at Italian brands Antonio Berardi and Coccapani, German sportswear label Puma and Italian fashion incubator Ruffo Research.
In the decade since, he has created a new and modern identity for the brand, adding his darkly romantic touch and adopting street style elements such as the sweatshirt and sneaker for a more contemporary take on the 63-year-old brand.