Givenchy Fall 2011 Couture Review

Givenchy Fall 2011 Couture collection

Photo courtesy of Givenchy

Looks from the Givenchy Fall 2011 Couture collection

SHOW: Givenchy

ACCESSORIES: Sandals smothered in fringe or antique wax devotional flowers, ostrich-feather minaudières flowing to the floor.

THEME: Angels' tears, birds of paradise and clouds

OVERALL TAKEAWAY: Dream-weaving is possible at the Paris haute couture.

Riccardo Tisci pulled away from the pomp and circumstance of an haute couture catwalk show three seasons ago. His reasoning? Let the clothes do the talking. Thus, the Givenchy haute couture presentation has become something of a religious experience for devotees, who flock each season to pay homage to Tisci's undeniable talent and the excellence of his ateliers.

Tisci would no doubt adore that religious reference, because it's an essential component of his work. For fall, regardless of theme, Tisci's garments looked like attire for a terribly chic archangel—or perhaps the world's most fashionable First Communion. White predominated, unusual for a winter collection (but not quite so when you realize that haute couture makes its real money from wedding dresses). If there are any unwed European princesses on the hunt, look no further: Tisci showed the perfect dresses for your first 10 marriages right here.

It's difficult to summarize the techniques used in these clothes—it's impossible to pluck just one dress to describe, considering how awe-inspiring they all are. Of special note this season were: a dress crusted with ombre caviar pearls from neck to hip; a bodice smothered with interlocking goose-feathers, ruffled with ostrich, and then bolted together with a pony-skin-and-chain harness (Tisci's angels are a little kinky); and an haute couture sweatshirt. Sound commonplace? It was a little slip of transparent tulle hand-embroidered with a baroque garland of thousands of organza-wrapped pearls. You don't get hauteur than that.