Jesus worship at Givenchy menswear SS16

Riccardo Tisci will be forever known as the designer who made fashion history with a simple decision: to feature Donatella Versace as the ‘face’ of his AW15 campaign. Getting the doyenne of another luxury brand to promote the venerable Parisian label is nothing short of revolutionary and a marketing move that is hitherto unheard of. By association, Tisci has also raised Versace’s brand profile and commercial appeal – i.e. the new Donatella is so cool she’s happy to graciously accept the role of muse… and for someone else.

GIVENCHY-BY-RICCARDO-TISCI-newsSo Tisci’s strength lies in his ability to spin, rather than to shock. The Donatella scoop was his way of turning the idea of rivalry to his advantage thanks to an unlikely ally or icon. Now he’s doing the same with religious iconography on the catwalk.

The SS16 menswear show in Paris featured the portrait of Jesus on almost half the looks, in various guises: on trousers, tee-shirts, shorts and even on a blue white-washed boiler suit. Tisci’s influences will have been wide and varied, but it would be too simplistic to read this Catholic symbolism as an easy controversy stunt.

To reference Depeche Mode’s seminal 90s song, Tisci is perhaps presenting himself as a ‘personal Jesus’ – not necessarily because he wants to be followed or revered (though probably a little at least ), but because he wants change attitudes and rewrite the rules. Sure enough, Tisci did just this with men in skirts, huge circular necklaces with keys attached, a denim print that could have been dealt out by Marc Jacobs and none other than Naomi Campbell on the catwalk in a teeny tiny bikini and Kendall Jenner as a pink bird of paradise, all swirly lace and tufts of tasseled plumage. The invitation is loud and clear: come pray in the church of Givenchy!

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