PARIS, France — Who would expect spiky social comment from Riccardo Tisci? He blew up the patterns on a dollar bill until they looked like camo and that made a body wonder if he was saying that the evil that men do hides behind money. Well, we already know that. “It’s always about the price of everything,” Tisci declared backstage. “Humans forget about reality, sensibility, soul.”
So we can chalk this collection up to his recent acquaintance with serenity. Our elusive third eye was Tisci’s motif du jour, encased in a pyramid as it is in the Masonic symbol on the USA’s currency. “No, no Masons,” he countered quickly.
At a stretch, you could say there was something serene about most of the 13 couture looks he showed at the end of the show. Natalia Vodianova looked like a Delphic oracle. But that only made a stark contrast with the militant 50-plus men’s looks that preceded her. “That’s always me,” Tisci conceded.
In other words, his discovery of serenity had little impact on the hyper-sexualised butchness that usually defines his men’s collections. What was new this time was all the zipped-on bits and pieces, the pannier-like extensions to the silhouette, the pockets, the backpacks, everything amplifying the notion of a man on the move, carrying his home on his back. “Like me,” said Tisci. “I’m never home. I’m not being asked to do accessories, I just like doing them.”
It all made for a collection that felt tortured, layer-upon-layer overwrought. The killer look was a sweatshirt unzipped over a wifebeater, casually, confidently louche. And so simple that it had a blazing clarity amidst all the over-styled, hyper-detailed stuff that surrounded it. But that’s not what Tisci’s fans want.