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If the Spring collection projected some kind of reawakening for Givenchy, then Pre-Fall made a strong statement that there is to be no messing around. With a tight edit of 26 women’s looks, Riccardo Tisci moved through suiting, layering, pleating, printing, embroidering, and all-around impressing—because none of this, of course, was as simple as it seemed.

The lineup began with essential black pieces that were neither exclusively day nor night thanks to high-contrast ivory detailing, sporty bands of neoprene, blouse collars punctuated with pearls, or a ribbon of silk tacked to a skirt like a misplaced ruff. Repurposed as a belt, those bands also served as a reversible leather leitmotif, weaving through strategically placed slits in mink or military melton wool. The collection then advanced to Tisci-approved polka dots—which is to say, tiny rubberized crosses on chiffon or silk cady. Later on, they recurred as Swarovski embroidery, precisely spaced across a floral-printed, full-length gathered dress. Funny how press notes described the motif as “poisonous romantic flowers” when it was really just baby’s breath. Then again, adorning a techno trench modeled by a redheaded Frankie Rayder, it passed as grown-up goth.
The fact that Tisci covered various generational and (presumably) budgetary bases made this collection an appealing outlier for him. Labor-intensive pleating, as one example, was applied to an entry-level jersey jacket dress, as well as a lacquered python skirt that required 60 hours of workmanship. Skirts, generally, were fuller and kissed the calves; longer redingotes felt fresher than the bombshell slinky dress or leather bomber. Even the 10 men’s looks featured leaner layering for broader reach. (It remains to be seen which Givenchy-faithful star couple will be the first to sport the matching carmine-collared camel coats.)

Spring’s Tyrolean-style racy laced bodices returned in a supporting role for Pre-Fall; one was paired with a covetable beaver-paneled varsity jacket with down-filled mohair sleeves. Another holdover from last season: footwear styles mounted onto a centrally placed stiletto so that sleek boots or classic T-bar spectator wedges appeared as if nailed to the ground like mannequin feet. Word is, the shoes are well balanced. The collection certainly was.

—Amy Verner,

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