Julia Roberts and Kim Kardashian sat front row at Givenchy’s spectacular New York fashion week debut, a meditation on love to the backdrop of Freedom Tower on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. The French giant’s decision to fly across the Atlantic for the first time to unveil a ready-to-wear collection made the hugely ambitious, celebrity-studded show one of fashion week’s hottest tickets in town. It was held outside at sunset on Pier 26 next to the lapping waters of the Hudson River and before the glittering lights of Manhattan’s skyline, including Freedom Tower, built on part of the site destroyed in the Al-Qaeda attacks.
The meandering set was crafted out of sheets of corrugated metal and wooden crates, which made for rather uncomfortable seats, and conjured up the impression of a bleak or even war-torn landscape. Live, meditative Buddhist music greeted guests as a man dressed in a long black skirt held tree branches aloft.
Rap star Nicki Minaj, dressed in a body-clinging, ruffled animal print dress with her cleavage on ample display, was the first A-list star to arrive, closely followed by an elegant Hollywood leading lady Roberts. But the show kicked off more than an hour late, after the delayed arrival of reality superstar Kardashian, her pregnant belly draped in transparent black lace, on the arm of her husband, Givenchy-loving rapper Kanye West. The show began with the sound of a gong, followed by music representing six religions-including a woman singing in Hebrew, Middle Eastern music, South Asian song and finishing with Ave Maria.
An astonishing 75 models walked the floodlit runway in black and white, the women clad in romantic layers of delicate lace that mimicked lingerie or sexy nightwear, with sharply tailored trouser suits for men and women. The ultra-thin models had to prove dexterous in towering stilettos as they clambered up and down crate stairs along the catwalk, causing at least one woman to stumble and fall during the 20-minute show.
Respectful on 9/11 anniversary
Black silk trouser suits were paired with delicate lace slips, with stunningly opulent evening wear of sculpted 3D ball gowns and jewel-embellished white jacket and exotic Oriental-style face masks. Friday was a somber day in the United States-the 14th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people in 2001 at the former World Trade Center in New York, at the Pentagon and in Pennsylvania. “The 11th of September is the most sad day in recent American history,” wrote Serbian performance artist Marina Abramovic in notes to accompany the show she helped put together.
“I want to create something respectful and humble,” she added, saying that Pier 26 had been chosen deliberately for its clear view of Freedom Tower, the highest skyscraper in the Western hemisphere built after the attacks. “Our choice of music, from six different cultures and religions, has the power to unite people without discrimination,” she wrote. “This event that we are creating together is about forgiveness, inclusivity, new life, hope, and above all, love.”
Givenchy extended the theme of inclusivity by inviting more than 1,000 members of the general public to a show that would ordinarily be seen in the flesh by just an elite band of fashionistas. The show marks Givenchy creative director Riccardo Tisci’s 10 years in charge at the brand in the LVMH luxury goods stable and coincides with the opening of a new flagship boutique on Madison Avenue. Tisci told Women’s Wear Daily in June that the United States “gives me so much energy, and I’m very inspired by the culture.” He said the free tickets and “opening to the public was my dream for many, many years.” – AFP