Yesterday was a day we won’t soon forget here in New York. It was the 14th anniversary of 9/11 (once again there was a solemn morning long ceremony held downtown). Serena Williams lost in her bid for that Season Grand Slam, at the U.S. Open in Flushing Meadows, to a virtual unknown Italian, Roberta Vinci, (the New York Times called it “one of the biggest upsets in sports history”). And Givenchy’s 40 year old creative director Riccardo Tisci, marking 10 years at the helm, blew into town from Paris, (timed with the opening of the new Givenchy 4300 square foot Madison Avenue flagship), and gave us a true fashion moment with his extravaganza show held at Pier 26. This is the first time in the 63 year history of the iconic French brand, that they have shown in New York City instead of Paris.
‘Fashion moments’ are admittedly few and far between, especially on this side of the Atlantic, but that is precisely what it was. It’s a wonderful thing when everything comes together for a designer as it did for Riccardo last night: the conception, the clothes, the choice of venue, the models, the staging. It was perfection. The 88 piece collection, which included men’s and women’s ready-to-wear, pieces from his new Givenchy Denim line, and haute couture (inspired by his past designs), was rendered entirely in black and white (why even pretend that any other colors matter?!) It looked beautiful, elegant, relevant, modern, and completely timeless (from Pat McGrath's stunning jeweled masks, languid satin kimono coats and soft lingerie inspired white lace trimmed tops shown with black mannish trousers, to the perfectly constructed and intricately detailed jackets, and of course the spectacular dresses).
The set design which was comprised of recycled materials, was collaboration with the brilliant Marina Abramovic and there were performance artists throughout. And it was meant to be inclusive and ‘democratic’. In addition to all the major fashion editors (Anna Wintour et. al.), top New York fashion designers (Alexander Wang, Michael Kors, Vera Wang, Joseph Altuzarra), and celebrities (Kim and Kanye, Julia Roberts, Debbie Harry, Steve Tyler) one would expect to see, there were a block of tickets saved for some of the cities’ fashion students, and free tickets were available for 800 members of the public who were lucky enough to swoop them up online. While the show ended with a stirring rendition of Ave Maria, the music of 6 different religions was represented.
Riccardo’s choice of venue: Pier 26 on the Hudson River, steps from One World Trade (the Conde Nast editors could literally walk there), his selection of the day: 9/11, and the time of day: dusk (which enabled guests to see the twin beams of light glowing above), was hardly random. He had previously told WWD, “It’s a very delicate day for America, and so the show is going to be a celebration of family and love”. He had stated from the beginning that this was his way of saying, “Thank You to America” since it was “the first country to really believe in me”. On a personal note, I have to say that I am a longtime resident of this neighborhood, and have predicted all along that this area (with its unrivaled and spectacular river and city views and the most glorious sunsets in the world) would make a most perfect and meaningful setting for a fashion show and it looks like it has certainly come to pass. Meanwhile, God must be shining on Riccardo, because unlike the previous day, with all the rain and wind, the weather had been perfect.
- Marilyn Kirschner