Riccardo Tisci celebrates 10 years at Givenchy with love, religion and a clan of celebrities

Riccardo Tisci and a coterie of model friends
Riccardo Tisci and a coterie of model friends Credit: Rex

With the sun setting against the backdrop of the Freedom tower, on the 14th anniversary of the attack on the Twin Towers, the fashion house Givenchy delivered a dedication to New York with its SS16 show, uprooted from its Parisian home for a one-off spectacular - neatly coinciding with the opening of the brand's new Madison Avenue boutique. Riccardo Tisci, the house's Italian creative director, was also celebrating ten year's at the helm,  and as one would expect of one of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West's best friends, he doesn't do things by halves. 

Guests found themselves in a sort of low key dock side set, created by the show's artistic director, Serbian performance artist, Marina Abramović, complete with wooden crate seating and structures fashioned from recycled debris. The two thousand strong audience - made up from everyone from the aforementioned Wests, Uma Thurman, Julia Roberts, Liv Tyler on the arm of her father, Aerosmith front man, Steven, to the unusual sight of local New Yorkers and fashion students, all welcomed in on the 800 tickets which were released for public consumption via Givenchy's official social media channels.

All were entertained by performance artists on plinths over head, one positioned under a pipe of continuous pouring water (clothed in a white silk shirt and pair of black trousers; a rather avant garde take on a wet t-shirt competition), another pair entwined together in a slow embrace, another holding up an uprooted tree in each hand, to the serenade of a Buddhist monk chanting slowly to the sounds of a throaty organ.

Tisci sent out his women (and men, clad in suits layered with silk tunics), in what he described backstage later as “a celebration of life, pure love, different religions and all people.” The collection was a culmination of his decade of work at the house, drawing together haute couture and ready-to-wear looks in one vision, for the most part in black or white.

There was a clear mixing of femininity with the traditional tropes of menswear tailoring. Lace and silk nightdress slips were worn with wide leg trousers and tuxedo jackets, whilst elaborate evening gowns were given punch with striking structural constructs.

Tisci continued his penchant for an edgy face appendage, crystal jewels were worn at the top of the nose, whilst some model's visages were covered completely either in lace appliqué or golden bedecked face masks. 

As a live rendition of Ave Maria thronged out over the crowd, and the darkening sky pierced with the commemorative beams of light from Ground Zero, what could have seemed trite took on a poetic, almost reverent feel. 

Straight after the show, Tisci rounded up his A list guests and models for a night time photo call, the group shot line-up almost like a school photograph - albeit one which managed to feature Spanish film director Pedro Almodovar, Kim Kardashian and Courtney Love. With a month of fashion shows still to come, it was quite the sartorial gauntlet being thrown down.