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Givenchy SS16
Givenchy SS16Photography Hatnim Lee

Fashion students share their Givenchy show stories

This season Riccardo Tisci opened the show up to students of local fashion schools – here, five of them recount their experiences

Earlier this month, in an unprecedented move, Riccardo Tisci decided to open up Givenchy’s SS16 show to members of the public, along with students and faculty members from local fashion schools. The show was staged in New York on Saturday night and put on in collaboration with Tisci’s friend, Serbian performance artist Marina Abramović. Held on the anniversary of 9/11, Abramović said the event was all about “forgiveness, inclusivity, new life, hope and love.” And with members of the public present, it was certainly inclusive – more than fashion shows are usually, anyway. But what was it like for the students who attended? We asked five of them, currently studying at Pratt Institute, to recount their experiences.


“To me the show touched me so much more than just seeing photos of the clothes. For example, the embellishments on the models and clothes were something that I feel only have a full impact when you see them in person. But it was sometimes distracting. Sometimes the audience seemed more interested in the celebrity appearances and the idea of being at a high-profile show rather than being invested in the garments. I think this was a great decision, not just to open the show to the public but particularly to students. To have the opportunity to attend such a high profile show is so inspiring and motivating as a designer myself.”


“The show was a visual assault of celebrity shepherding, meditative performances and very European fashion. But still, it was stunning show when you realised you were there to view a luxury brand’s fashion show that you realise you wouldn’t see unless you were in Paris. Watching designers mingling and small talking was a very real aspect of fashion shows I hadn't thought of before and was a small yet significant part of being at the show. Opening up such a private venue to fashion students was especially nice. We’re so disenfranchised to the real world while we’re studying that it's nice to see.”


“I wasn’t watching a collection made to entice buyers, instead I was witnessing a powerful and important presentation. Marina Abramović’s performers were so subtle, so calm and distilled that it even took audience members some time to notice a man walking steadily parting the aisle. Ushers and performers alike wore uniforms that sought to combine the two art shows we saw taking place. It felt really special to be able to view such a new kind of collaboration between artists. I think designers should always strive to combine fashion and art. There are some already doing this, seeking new ways to display collections – think Rick Owens’ SS14 step show. It is imperative in continuing to make fashion more accessible and interesting.Fashion is art. We are tasked with, now, continuing to elevate our connection to it and how it is experienced.”



“The show was reminiscent of some sort of ceremony. It was like being immersed inside of an art installation. The booming, solemn ceremonial music gave me the sense of a strong cultural (or political?) commentary, especially in direct view of the World Trade Center tower on September 11. Even more so when I spotted black American flags on some of the suit jackets in the collection. Some of the textures were so elaborate I could hardly believe what I was seeing. There was also some moments of extreme face make-up and jewellery, which made the models seem almost non-human. It was one of the most exciting things I’ve ever witnessed.”


“The show was beautiful. In the public standing area it was really hard to see any details, or even the clothing, but the music was perfect. The most powerful moment was when ‘Ave Maria’ came on and all of the models came out at the end. It was really beautiful to see all of the work that had been put in and to see the performers, the collection, the music, everything at once it’s very powerful. When I first heard Marina was collaborating with Riccardo I thought it would be through clothing. I’m so happy it was through performance. It was beautiful.”


“As a fashion student Givenchy is a household name, and their arrival in New York had been widely publicised. The atmosphere was very beautiful in the shadows of the skyline on 9/11, but I was upset when (the public) applauded Kim Kardashian's entrance... There were many recognisable icons of fashion there! It bothered me that the inclusion of the public audience created a distraction from the industry event, but I admire Riccardo’s thoughtfulness in inviting the public. I wished there was more interaction between Marina, the runway, and the audience, but her work on its own looked very special in the time and the place.”

With special thanks to Pratt Institute – follow them on Instagram here.