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Equal parts gangbanger and flowery, sequin-covered grande dame, the new Givenchy man was as strangely ravishing as the tropical bird of paradise flowers that dressed up his military drab.

Beefy models sported slim, olive-colored suits printed with the eyepopping flowers and luxe sweatshirts completely covered in sequins. Baseball jackets were paired with pleated skirts that fluttered as the models walked, revealing glimpses of hidden panels of the flower printed silk in saturated jewel tones.

Sequin-emblazoned baseball caps and scythed-shaped metal earrings that seemed to pierce through the central cartilage of the models’ ears topped off the looks.

The label’s Italian-born designer, Riccardo Tisci, has spent time in Rio, and the city’s blend of tropical opulence and urban grit seems to have rubbed off on him.

Friday’s show was held, appropriately enough, in a glass-walled hall of the Pompidou Center modern art museum that had the look _ and, under a galaxy of blinding, blazing lights _ the feel of a hothouse.

Passers-by pressed against the windows to catch a glimpse of the show and snap photos of the exotic flora inside: the wildly outfitted journalists, editors and stylists, who responded by turning their own cameras on the observers.


If you can imagine a barbershop quartet on psychedelic drugs, you have a pretty good idea of what the Belgian designer’s collection was all about this season.

Clean-cut models, their hair styled in oversized bouffants secured with combs, wore slim, ‘50s-style pant suits in pastel brocards and over-the-elbow gloves in leather patchworked to resemble cartoon faces, complete with 3-D noses.

Cable-knit sweaters were shredded down the front into thin strips and paired with checkered, high-water trousers.

But the collection’s highlight was undoubtedly the oversized forms made out of tufts of fluorescent tulle that fit over the models’ heads and enveloped them to the mid-thigh, transforming them into walking topiary.

Blinded behind a green bubble-shaped puff, an oversized cylinder in bubblegum pink or a plump blue and white cloud, the models blundered their way down the zigzagging catwalk, trying not to careen into fashion world heavyweights on their front-row perches. The green ball-shaped walking shrub banged into a door frame several times before managing to exit.

“The whole thing made me smile, which is really rare,” REM frontman and fashion show veteran Michael Stipe said in a post-show interview. Asked if he would dare sport any of the looks himself, Stipe responded, “I’m 51, so I have to be careful about what I put on. But maybe for the stage, I could absolutely imagine wearing something like that for a show.”