There was really only one show to watch this season in terms of it’s casting and that was Givenchy. Prada was still stuck in the white washed past, CK offered little excitement save the instantly enigmatic presences of fresh faces Jac and Lindsey and just about every other show on the fashion calendar stuck to the tried and true formula of proven girls. Maybe it’s the recession or a sweeping state of malaise but few risks were taken overall. Not that one minds seeing the familiar strut of Raquel Zimmerman yet again each season but ultimately there isn’t much behind that very safe choice.
The Givenchy casting made a statement and it was a powerful one. By showing women of varying age / race / shape all together on one runway it shows the enduring appeal of the brand. Givenchy isn’t just for the idealized form of wane 16 year olds from the Eastern block, it’s for all modern women. When you have the still impeccable Brandi Quionnes marching down the catwalk with the impossibly fresh Ranya Mordanova it strikes a cord. Add to the fact that there was diversity without tokenism, an idea that remains rare in fashion circles. While the real world is a melting pot of cultures and ideas – the runways still lack the kind of cultural mélange we see each day. There remains a great deal of catching up to do – were looking at you Milan.
All in all this was the much needed shot in the arm. The spirit of individuality and excitement enlivened what has been an otherwise dull season of 80s redux and jazz age fluff. If the clothes can’t be interesting at least the models should be. Particularly enticing was the left of center turn from Adriana Lima, how refreshing it is to see the the supermodel stripped of her trashy trappings and returning to runway. Makes us remember the pre-VS days when she had her punk crop and walked for the likes of Galliano and McQueen. Back then it wasn’t so usual to see casting with a little bit of edge to it.
What this all spells for fashion on the whole is uncertain. Under Riccardo Tisci’s direction Givenchy has always thought outside the casting box and gone for an eclectic blend rather than following the trend for repetition. Whether or not this will continue as just in house trademark or as an industry wide phenomenon is uncertain – all we know is that the bar just got raised a notch.