Gladiatorial combat is in the air for Givenchy’s ever-creative Riccardo Tisci.
For the autumn-winter 2013 menswear show, the Italian designer delved into his rich ancestry bringing back hundreds upon hundreds of candles which carved out an ominous catwalk arena.
Like Roman torches, they lit the way for the models who filed by in 48 mainly black-and-white looks.
The references were subtle but unmistakable: square breastplate-like photographs by Robert Mapplethorpe printed on T-shirts, sweaters and tank tops.
Winter bubble jackets, tied round the waist, fell in the shape of a legionary’s skirt — sometimes on top of shorts — almost to the groin — that exposed the muscular models’ legs.
Then, leather shoes shined provocatively with a silver armour-band; while combat gear was also evoked in crudely stitched padded biker jackets and sweaters.
For several minutes, Ancient Rome did indeed come to Paris — albeit with a contemporary, even futuristic edge.
There was, however, a real sense of continuity with previous season’s styles — despite the new theme.
Tisci’s signature gothic and black-heavy palette was used, for instance.
A long grey coat that lacked lapels, also evoked the ecclesiastical style of last season’s show, that Tisci said explored his Catholic roots.
As ever, the look was unbusy, clean and often minimalist, with a tight silhouette.
For autumn-winter therefore, it was not revolution, but evolution, Roman-style.