Givenchy puts Mary on new collection of menswear

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Eclectic was the word to describe Day Three of Paris menswear week.

Friday’s spring-summer collections had a little something for everyone: from the high-waisted gangster styles of film noir to fashions evoking Brazilian soccer and even the Catholic Church.

In one collection — which its designer called the longest fashion show in history — the boundaries were blurred between clothing and performance art.

“Here in Paris, the only thing that defines menswear is variety, difference. You cannot put it in one direction,” French fashion federation president Didier Grumbach told The Associated Press.

Givenchy’s enfant terrible designer, Riccardo Tisci, delivered the day’s slickest show. In a provocative display, he delved into his Roman Catholic childhood in southern Italy to produce clothing loaded with Virgin Mary images.

Saturday’s shows include Dior Homme and powerhouse Hermes.

It was an ecclesiastical tour de force in a religion-inspired collection. Incense wafted from the sidelines and organ music set the scene in a show that played with the layers of priestly garb.

Tisci shows always contain a shock factor. Here it came in the form of sleeveless tops and jackets printed with effigies of the Virgin Mary with a black bar over her eyes.

Jesus sandals — de rigueur for all the models — bore spiky chains.

“I’m going back to my roots,” Tisci, an Italian Catholic, told The Associated Press. “It’s about Communion, but a sex version of it.”

Silhouettes were knee-length or at the hip. The longer looks in black, white and blood red descended like columns, with cassock undergarments hanging underneath. The shorter looks were best, such as a printed T-shirt paired with a jacket — again featuring Virgin imagery — that opened up like a Catholic triptych.

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