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Givenchy Menswear Fall Winter 2014 Paris

Givenchy designer Riccardo Tisci decided to settle the rivalry between streetwear and sophisticated dressing in the courts. The basketball courts that is. Transforming the cavernous halle Freyssinet show venue into a b ball court outlined in neon and surround by an imposing circular chain link fence that kept the audience at bay while the show was underway.

The fence was a good idea. Tisci has turned Givenchy, and particularly its menswear, into one of the hottest fashion brands in the business. And without that fence the audiences, possibly lead by Kanye West sitting in the front row, might have rushed the models as they took to the catwalk in their basket ball inspire creations.

At the start of the show the link to the urban sport was rather hard to spot. And the first exit, a beautifully executed black velvet dress coat paired with full cut pants and a pristine white shirt with black netting across the face, was a rather shocking change of pace from last season’s tribal inspired show. In fact, the first 6 or 7 exits all skewed towards a collection with a much more artistic slant. The elegances of faded painterly effects embellishing jackets and the dynamism of bold bands of contrasting colored fabric finishing off pockets, stretching across the shoulders or pinning a fur stole to the torso was intriguing. This sort of sartorial blocking was where the collection’s Bauhaus undercurrent was felt most strongly.

It was the architectural study of lines and curves of the German movement that was the fundamental link to Tisci’s more prominent starting point of basketball. The spherical shape of the ball and its “ribs” becoming demi lune details at the hips of pants, rounded puffer jackets with zipper embellishments mimicked the groves of a basketball and the designer's sweatshirt tops came printed with a more obvious allusion- a blown up image of a ball.
Other basketball references came in the form of graphic button up shirts and tops that were nods to both Bauhaus and tactic sketches used by basketball coaches. A pull over top crafted out of what could have been hoop netting and a team jersey knitted out of fluffy angora were other creative ways to expand on the sporty inspiration.

Of course, all of the looks were finished off with a pristine pair of Nike sneakers. After all Tisci is now collaborating with the sportwear giant.

The finale score: Tisci’s hoop dreams made for a sartorial slam dunk.