PARIS, October 4, 2006 - Riccardo Tisci has the unenviable task of remaking a venerable label much in need of a facelift. How well you airbrush the House of Givenchy so that it appeals to new generation is likely to be the determining factor in whether you keep your job at the end of the contract, or whether you join a long list of successors on the unemployment line.

Over a year into it, the odds are still 50/50 for Tisci. Wednesday evening's show at the Tennis Club of Paris raised more questions than it answered. For one thing, you can't assume that working in black makes a collection elegant. For another, you can't just take bits and pieces of history - such as geometrical designs - and throw them on transparent tulle and hope for the season's big hit. The result was pieces that looked more sinner than saint - or in other words, the quintessentially French art of seduction relies on more subtle technique than slashing a dress at mid-thigh and exposing a right breast through a cut out.

The evening dresses had other problems. Excessively embellished bodices and flaring skirts produced the undesired effect of distorting the silhouette. The strange royal blue gown that ended the show, cut away at the knees and decorated with black piping, looked as if it belonged in a maternity wardrobe.

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