Fans line up outside the Givenchy show on Friday September 11. Photo: Getty Images
Riccardo Tisci typically rolls with an all-star posse: Julia Roberts, Kim Kardashian and Kanye West, a bevvy of A-list models. But on Friday, Givenchy’s creative director expanded his crew by approximately one thousand, opening his highly-anticipated spring 2016 show to the public. Making one of the most exclusive Fashion Week experiences available for the masses is an unprecedented move, especially for a iconic French fashion house.
This much-publicized change in location and newfound “all-are-welcome” concept serve as integral parts to the brand’s ambitious U.S. expansion plan. And judging from the hundreds-person line that snaked around the Pier 26 waterway on Friday afternoon, the strategy is working. Fans came from as far as London, Boston, and Staten Island to line up for access to the show. And they weren’t there to spot a Kardashian, these die-hard fashion lovers hoped to see Tisci, but were mostly interested in the clothes. Frank and Jenna, two FIT students we talked to, predicted the show to come—"I think the show is going to be a performance. If I had to predict, he wouldn’t just do a basic walking up and down the runway.”—and gushed over Tisci. "Riccardo Tisci is just so innovative. You don’t see things that are Givenchy all the time.“ Frank said. "You only see the collection on the red carpet and it’s like, ‘What are you wearing?’'Givenchy, of course!’ It’s just so amazing to see this in person.”
Few people in line actually wore Givenchy. One, Josh, a college student from Boston, topped his floral Tisci-designed top with a fringed jacket, despite the 80 degree temps. "I needed to wear my jacket. Otherwise, the outfit just won’t work,” he explained. But many channeled the brand’s now signature look. Long skirts and floor-skimming dresses on both women and men; skinny jeans; and, most importantly, all black everything topped with fur and leather. Of the four non neutral-colored ensembles waiting to get in, one eventually borrowed a friend’s black jacket to hide the bright blue shirt she’d worn.
First in line was Bailey, a 16-year-old from Staten Island, who arrived at 2PM to secure the spot. “I mean, it’s early, but getting in first see the show is totally worth it,” he gamely explained. The teenager said he was a longtime fan of Tisci’s work, but that he’d also jump at the opportunity to attend a fashion show, period. “I like the Givenchy designs, and when the opportunity came around, I entered for the tickets. I love the diversity of the brand; the pieces are all different, but the vibe feels darker than other designers.”
Jeannie, a New Jersey resident, told us that getting tickets “was an emotional roller coaster; I was literally screaming,” while Joel and Addison, played it super cool. “I love Givenchy because it’s street, but at the same time it’s so elegant,” they said. “You can take different pieces and incorporate it into your wardrobe for everyday. Tisci’s always bringing something new to the table.“
Annie, a Central St. Martins student, has spent years studying Tisci’s collections. ”[He] went to the same school as me, so obviously I’m a fan of him. Even though I was too young to really follow him when he started,” she says. “I feel like I know so much about him since he started in 2005 just from studying his collection.“
The palpable enthusiasm in line was enough to convince anyone that Tisci’s onto something. As runway shows become more tiresome, and the fashion flock more exhausted, why not try stashing some real life fans in the third row to jack up energy levels pre-show. Because sure, livestreams are a step toward the democratization of fashion, but both editors and fans alike know that computer screens aren’t real-life experiences. And Friday night’s Givenchy show was 100% real.