Armen wrote this article for a fashion magazine out of London…
The Sound of Substance by Armen Nalbandian
With his Spring 2013 preview for Givenchy, Riccardo Tisci carefully presented us with a fine balance between sanctity and sin while toying with the concepts of ancient and modern, the sartorial conventions of masculinity and femininity and in doing so he manifests a yet another stunning showing.
The contrasting duet of war-like electronic drums and alto-vocals by Canadian musician Claire Boucher that one hears introducing Tisci’s newest offering recalls the same menacing intense feel he presented us with at his 2012-2013 Fall/Winter show. But with his spring line, the darkness represented by the alternating monochromatic design immediately gives way, both as a musical cue and tone of the show, to a section that is both lithe and uplifting as it accompanies the burst of pink color that offers reprieve from the flowing black and white of the opening of the show as the models followed in quick succession after each other.
The pink contrast is accompanied by the most poignant moment in the singular musical selection adopted by Tisci to create a sonic identity for his collection; following a menacing bass line that would be at home showcasing his previous collection, Boucher’s real voice is revealed in song highlighting the angelic spirit of the show that is heightened by the graphics of the Virgin Mary that is showered throughout the show.
Tisci’s recent collection have focused on eye catching graphic, most notably the presence rottweilers in the 2012 show and recently with sharks and mermaids representing (alongside the rottweiler prints) for pre-autumn 2012. The inclusion of the Virgin Mary prints simultaneously layered on an overlapping tie/shirt combination, and silk tops presented a juxtaposition of the sacred and secular, while toying with gender roles as a few female models, unrecognizably included, joined their male counterparts on the exceptionally long catwalk. (120 yards)
Said to be influenced by Tisci’s childhood memories of being raised Catholic in Southern Italy, the collection showcased (in addition to the religious imagery), priestly garments similar to modified cassocks that create the same elegance, and sensuality that evokes the the Tisci romanticism that both his menswear and womenswear collections possess.
As the show progressed, Boucher’s flowing vocals over the steadfast drum pattern is unrelenting (much like the pace of the show) which provides contrast from the subtle organs cues and warm bass texture that appears throughout the song. The selection of Claire Boucher’s song “My Sister Says the Saddest Things” from her Halfaxa album, musically summons perfectly what Tisci’s collection represents: a tour-de-force of cultural engineering: manipulating an orthodox approach and presenting a voluminous showing using what may seem like minimal materials but presenting an output that celebrates it’s creation in it’s details.
The Givenchy Spring 2013 Preview, serves as a reminder of Tisci’s tremendous contribution to culture that transcends beyond any singular aesthetic field, and connects the runway to a evolving art installation that commands the viewer to come to terms with their own preconceived notions of the limitations they place on fine art.