When it comes to religion, it’s hard to find anything that is a shade of grey. Everything is either black, white or maybe red. The same can be said of Riccardo Tisci’s Spring-Summer 2013 collection which I think has a lot of depth mainly because of the fact that he drew his inspiration from the very deep source of religion. I can’t help but feel that there is an intimidating sense of darkness to this collection and this is evident in the mystical Madonna-like figure who is depicted in various states as a ghostly bride shrouded in veil, eyes obscured with a strip of black, hidden under the shadow of her hood, deep in euphoria or with a disfigured face as if it had been badly scarred by acid. Then comes the number 17 of which it’s significance and connection with the word ‘Pervert’ (as seen on the scarves) I may truly never know but I did a little snooping around and this is what I found.
The word ‘Pervert’ was an American hip-hop brand with a skater appeal founded around 1990 by Don Busweiler who wanted to do away with the negative connotation associated with the term. It all began when Busweiler first silk screened the word on his T-shirt back in high school. Having borrowed $10,000 from a friend, he started his Animal Farm store based off at 1443 Collins Avenue and it wasn’t long before hip-hop acts such as Beastie Boys and House of Pain began wearing his togs. Unfortunately, the brand shuttered in 1995 after Don Busweiler decided to join a controversial cult which ironically deemed anyone living a life different from what their proposed values were, a practitioner of perversion.
Perhaps Riccardo Tisci wanted to pay a tribute to this long forgotten brand. What was before or what it could have been seeing how similar hip-hop brands such as Stussy, Supreme, Bape and DC became the global brands they are today. Even Supreme’s creative director Brendon Babenzien at one point started his career at Pervert. As for the significance behind the number 17? It’s Riccardo Tisci’s favourite number and the name of his first watch collection for Givenchy. It is also Hubert de Givenchy’s age when he first arrived in Paris. Interestingly though, a verse from the New International Version of the Bible from the book of Matthew chapter 17, verse 17 states:
“You unbelieving and perverse generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy here to me.”
And that’s all I can find for the number 17, unless of course you are referring to a more deep and dark connection with a perversed form of mysticism.