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Givenchy Womenswear S/S12

Surf, mermaids and sharks make for a subtly romantic and tailoring-based collection by Riccardo Tisci

Dazed & Confused's 20th anniversary cover star and guest editor Riccardo Tisci quite rightly reacted to the impact of the panther prints and menswear florals of the past few Givenchy collections.  Those prints have been selling hard and fast and it was time for Tisci to move on and he unexpectedly turned to surfers and mermaids but a strident way that emphasised his way with sharp cuts as waves of fabrics cascaded down the front of jackets and skirts came with spliced and diced peplums and pellets. 

On the surface, there is a classicism to the collection that perhaps is a shift away from the playfulness and kitsch of last winter but take a closer look and the complex construction is the perfect synthesis of Tisci's wayward references.  The fish scales of a mermaid is reflected in chiffon sequins and leather cut-outs.  Giant silver shark's tooth hints at the prowess of an animal that Tisci has been feeling for a while.  The shimmer of a degrade silver sequinned trouser suit reflects the sunsets that Tisci has been seeing on his travels.  What manifested was a flow in the collection that curved from head to toe in yet another upwards notch in Tisci's tenure at Givenchy.  

Dazed Digital: Was this collection a reaction the prints that you have really excelled in your last few collections?
Riccardo Tisci:
When a designer has got a identity and a house has its own identity, it can be very playful.  Sometimes fashion can be very flat.  What I like is when I go one way, when people follow me, I go in another way.  It's a reaction to what people expect of me.  My pre-collection had a lot of print, my fall collection had the panther and my menswear had birds of paradise and very romantic.  I gave and gave and so then I wanted to react.

DD: What prompted the influence of the surfer and the sea on the collection?
Riccardo Tisci:
I wanted to keep the surfer mood of the pre-collection.  I wanted to feel the dryness of the surfer.  THey stay in the sun a lot, being dry.  Then at the same time, when I was travelling, I see these beautiful sunsets - Cuba, Costa Rica, Puerto Rico, Brazil - everything around these sunsets becomes pink and the sea becomes iridescent.   So I wanted to experiment with surfer-based clothing - the waves, the masculine dynamic of the collection.  Then I had my dreamy side where I wanted to incorporate elements of a mermaid.  Then I had my dark touch inspired by sharks as seen in the jewellery.  It was a combination of many things and animals which I'm always interested in.

DD: How do you feel to be on the cover of Dazed & Confused's 20th anniversary issue?
Riccardo Tisci:
Amazing! Dazed is one of those magazines that made me dream when I was at school.  Dazed has always given me freedom - a bible for a young generation.  When Jefferson asked me to be on the cover, I was a bit hesitant, but it's an amazing present from fashion and you guys.  I was very honoured.  I'm not British, but my design roots started in Britain in Central Saint Martins and it supported me as a designer and the cover felt like a culmination of those beginnings.  It's like getting legion d'honneur!