Riccardo Tisci’s second collection for Burberry left me with the same impression I had after his debut. Too much of content. Again, we’ve got an exhausting line-up of more than 100 looks and some sort of separated themes that relate to British culture. Guests sat in two spaces: one very formal with a 90s rave soundtrack, the other an urban jungle set to the sounds of classical piano. The collection was a matching game of contrasts between street and elegance. While Tisci wants to get as democratic and inclusive with his fashion as possible, it seems like the huge scope of Britishness is just too much for one collection. The second part of the collection, the formal one, was the strongest: we’ve had sharp tailoring, gorgeous, distinctly Burberry trench coats, refined eveningwear. The oyster print was properly posh, while the colour palette – Burb beige and pistachio – looked insanely good. Stella Tennant in a camel total look and a matching beanie was just it. The first part of the collection, the one that’s targeted for younger audience, was like a deja vu from Riccardo’s later Givenchy years, when he went full throttle with printed T-shirts and sweatshirts. Yes, those were bestsellers, but… we’re in 2019. That mould of tartan plaid, Burberry checks, puffers and logos wasn’t neither clubbing fashion, punk or anything close to that. Rather, millennials-minded mumble jumble of references.
Collage by Edward Kanarecki.
London fashion week didn’t see a big debut for a while. But was it worth the wait? Riccardo Tisci at Burberry seemed to be an unlikely choice from the beginning. The brand’s logo and identity changes felt vague and predictable. A post-show, 24 hours only merch shopping via Instagram had to have everyone like ‘wow’, but I guess no one really bothered to buy anything. You might think that 134 looks in a collection have to speak loud and clear about the designer’s vision. That’s what I thought before. Well, maybe that number of looks tried to say a word or two, but in overall it felt like Tisci wanted to seize too much and mention too many things at a time in his first collection for this historic, British brand. The first part of the collection referred to Burberry’s heritage – trench coats, Burbs checks and silk foulards – and played with the notion of conservative, British middle class from the Thatcher era. If Riccardo developed that a bit further and kept the show in these 50 outfits, that might have been a good shot . But then, a dozen of identical menswear looks appeared, aesthetically closer to Prada and 90s Helmut Lang than Burberry. Another ton of womenswear (this time related to the punk movement, unfortunately looking shallow, preppy and… tired) and a portion of men’s unamusing streetwear (think sweatshirts and prints that are very close to Riccardo’s work at Givenchy – this time, however, we’ve got creepy, Victorian families photo instead of Catholic iconography) appeared on the runway. In the end, we had this quite stiff line-up of ladies’ eveningwear. I liked Christopher Bailey’s last seasons at Burberry, but I never really looked at his collections again. Tisci’s debut could have been more focused and gripping, that’s sure, but let’s give him time. And please, narrow down that scope!
Collage by Edward Kanarecki.
I’ve been so excited about Riccardo Tisci‘s stree-style-wise pre-fall 2016 look-book which was photographed in Berlin – but I don’t feel that excitement anymore, if talking of Givenchy‘s menswear outing. It just feels like a look-back at the collections that Tisci delivered for men in the last few years. This season, the mood-board was all about a very narrow and specific theme – it was photographer Frank Marshall’s images of Botswana and its music devotees dressed up in their favourite band t-shirts, fringed biker jackets and cowboy hats. Indeed, it’s quite difficult to imagine the leather-filled Wild West in the heart in this African country. “I looked in the book and saw these gangs, their freedom – it was something very new for me”. There was a free-spirited attitude in the collection, which has also brought a spotlight on Africa’s stereotype-breaking subcultures. However, if you won’t pay attention to what books Tisci holds on his bookshelf, then the menswear part seems to look good, but surely not ground-breaking.
I have the same feelings towards the women’s part, which in reality is the spring-summer 2016 haute couture collection (smartly overlapped with menswear for the next season). Back in the days, when Givenchy’s creative director did separate haute couture presentations, everybody knew his girl well. You surely didn’t want to mess up with her. Her black, lace gown, fur stole and vampish make-up tells it all – she is a romantic, slightly gothic dame. And as you see, she hasn’t changed even a bit, she is still the Tisci girl from the Instagram favoured #GivenchyGang. The haute couture part is a collection of masterpieces (take the hand-embroidered cape with circular patterns), but just like in the case of menswear – doesn’t feel fresh.
Who would have thought that Berlin is suddenly becoming fashion’s favourite city? After Gucci presented its spring-summer 2016 campaign photographed by Glen Luchford (club WCs, peacocks and rooftops – see it here), the creative director of Givenchy, Riccardo Tisci, took the edgy streets of Kreuzberg by storm. The pre-fall 2016 collection is not only great because of the location, which I deeply adore – Riccardo comes back to his roots, which are all about fashion, and not the celebrity circus. Masculine pyjama layered with a lace skirt; sharp apparel channelled by Irina Shayk; “cheesy”, pink ankle-boots styled with romantic shoulder-exposing tops. Although there are no literal references of the city, the collection is very close to Berlin’s youthful attitude – the girls in here twist vintage looking suits with rock’n’roll biker jackets and simple, yet soigné spaghetti-strap tops. In other words, Berlin’s urban chic is getting a refined revamp by a French maison. Good try, Riccardo. I’m into it.
Having Givenchy in New York is unusual – this historical, French house in the Big Apple. Riccardo Tisci‘s plan to expand the brand in America is already taking a spin, as the first Givenchy flagship has just opened. The show (which quested about 1000 people – fashionistas, editors and real people, who caught their free tickets) was artistically directed by Marina Abramovic on Pier 26 with a stunning view on Manhattan. The clothes were interesting, too – satin tops and dresses were sexy while lace details gave the entire collection a romantic mood. Tisci also brought some haute couture to NYC – the eveningwear was mesmerizing. Tulle in the shape of alligator skin on a body-dress was an absolute favourite. Of course, Riccardo’s Givenchy wouldn’t be Givenchy without some splendour – the model had nose-rings and crystals “attached” to their faces, looking like princesses from the Arabian Nights. In comparison to the last few collections of Givenchy, this one was a really, really good one. And it feels like Riccardo Tisci again looks towards the clothes, and not celebrities.