In what must surely be one of the most protracted anniversary celebrations on record, Dazed & Confused offers us yet another issue devoted to the celebration of its twenty year reign as one of the world’s most revered fashion and lifestyle titles. But, far from the party getting boring, things only seem to be going from strength to strength.
One of the highlights of the current issue sees Dazed’s former fashion director Katy England paired up with artist Matthew Stone to produce the unique ‘Exstasis’ archival shoot profiling Riccardo Tisci’s vaunted years at the helm of Givenchy. As creative director of the shoot, Tisci has personally selected pieces from his collections that he feels summarises his consummate execution of the same role for the famous French fashion house.
Big on dramatic gesture and spread over atmospheric locations or staged on moody sets, Stone’s camera places models at the centre of a series of dramatic images that gives Tisci’s creations a suitably operatic air. Here the cast of beauties who are more usually shown in a more traditionally glamorous light become the players in a swirling drama unfolding in the twilight zone. Not purist Surrealism though often approaching it, the series of stunning double-page spreads brings a fashionable take to the ambivalent territory often inhabited by the artist. Here and there classical references come to the fore – a whiff of a pieta or a composition lifted from Roman sculpture- but never in a direct or obvious way.
And, of course, it’s only fitting. Riccardo Tisci, after all, has brought a certain Italian – or perhaps more correctly, Italianate- sensibility to one of the most quintessentially Parisian of fashion houses. Even within this most lateral of fashion stories it’s still easy to see how Tisci’s hand has cut a careful path balancing the decorative and high drama with a stark tailoring that remains sharp and practical. It’s also perhaps ironic that within this particularly opulent staging one notices perhaps for the first time – maybe it has a lot more to do with Riccardo Tisci’s decisive selection of pieces as much as anything else- just how much of a link there is between his designs and the heritage of the famous fashion house. Perhaps less so with the silhouettes themselves than with his use of colour, there is nonetheless a strong connection with the particular vision of fashion that made Hubert Givenchy legendary.
Few could hope for a more beautiful anniversary present than the one the distinctive trio have given to Dazed & Confused.