PARIS -- Jessica Chastain,
Designer Riccardo Tisci set the stage for a fashion-entertainment extravaganza all right, with a runway in the round, and a music performance by Antony and the Johnsons with the Heritage Orchestra.
The inspiration: Gypsy-meets-Victoriana, according to the show notes. And masculine-meets-feminine.
The look: Gypsy biker chic. Biker and bomber jackets in leather, fur and rose-printed silk. Long, flowy skirts in a patchwork of floral silk chiffon worked with lace. Flower-printed plaid flannel shirts. Sweat shirts embroidered with stars, in Madonna-printed velvet, paisley jacquards or silk prints, one featuring Bambi. A black ruffle dress with a biker jacket-like bodice, worn over straight trousers. Sheer black chiffon below-the-knee skirts with zipper details.
The scene: Despite the celebrity presence and accompanying photo scrum, the sweet, lulling vocals by Antony made this show a moment of calm in the midst of a crazy week. The words he sang, which dealt with themes of love and femininity, were composed specifically for Givenchy designer Riccardo Tisci. Antony even composed an inspiration statement titled "Future Femininity," and a copy was left on each seat. "If there is a future on earth that includes us," he wrote, "it will be feminine."
The verdict: As heartfelt as Antony's ode to women seemed to be, there was a disconnect between the sentimentality and the clothes coming down the runway. While there were certainly lovely riffs on the well-worn gypsy theme here, mixed with the streetwise luxe biker jackets and sweat shirts that have made him such a celebrity favorite, there was nothing particularly empowering about these clothes when it came to helping a real woman solve the problem of what to wear to the office.