Did The NBA Kill The Givenchy Shark?

In today’s NBA, personal style is a tool for players who are building their personal brand. For them, it's not just about image, it's a competition. Clients complain to their stylists when another player jacks their Instagrammed outfits. Everyone wants that new thing, that hip-hop name drop and right now, Givenchy is that "IT" brand for fashion connoisseurs.

NBA players that floss Givenchy include Amar'e Stoudemire, Carmelo Anthony, Serge Ibaka, JR Smith, Tristan Thompson, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Gilbert Arenas, LeBron James, Thomas Robinson and Nick Young. But, with a long list of brand “stans,” has Givenchy become over saturated? Is it worth the hype and photo likes?

Givenchy was founded in Paris by Hubert de Givenchy in 1952, long before Kanye spit that boos must “take off that Givenchy and (let’s) get raunchy.” Givenchy designed ready-to-wear and haute couture lines until his retirement in 1995. Previously, designers like John Galliano and the late Alexander McQueen tried their hand at helming the house. 

Givenchy’s current success is thanks to Riccardo Tisci, who took over womenswear in 2005 and menswear in 2009. He’s known for his gothic aesthetic and use of religious imagery. It was his Fall 2011 menswear collection that vaulted Givenchy into the mainstream –  thanks to his extensive use of angry Rottweiler print –  and it moved the trend of graphic prints and pattern-mixing forward.

Kanye West is a staunch Tisci supporter and other celebrity fans include Jay-ZPusha TA$AP Rocky, Theophilus LondonCassie and Rihanna. Tisci was also the creative director for Jay-Z and Kanye West’s Watch the Throne album and tour, designing cover artimagery and t-shirts. The NBA followed Yeezy’s teachings and snatched up Rottweiler garments along with the "Birds of Paradise" Summer 2012 heavily printed collection. But it was the Fall 2012 pre-collection’s shark head tee that made the NBA Givenchy-crazy. 

Stylistically, the shark graphic is so massive that it only works on someone tall and thin so it doesn’t dominate the wearer’s frame. The crewneck is more successful as the extra black fabric helps balance the beast. The animal face shirt is a trend and frankly, spending $320 for a shirt or $510 for a crewneck is ridiculous, unless it’s your personal style signature. It’s easy to get caught up in the Givenchy hype thanks to its popularity (there are lots of knockoffs, like this Brooklyn Nets jersey). The Fall 2012 collection is wildly popular and a critical success, as it features on-trend baroque prints.

When wearing a Givenchy printed shirt, don’t over do your outfit because the shirt is your main statement piece. The problem with some NBA players that are new to high fashion, is that they tend to wear everything at once and both Anthony and Arenas are guilty of this. Wearing loud items like an ill-fitting leather jacket, an AP (Audemars Piguet) watch on steroids, leather Grey Ant shades and a leather snapback compete with their Givenchy shirts. When someone tries too hard to pull an item off, it makes their style seem inauthentic.

Keep it simple when you go graphic, like Stoudemire’s black suit, Fall 2012 Givenchy tee and gold chain combination. The black jacket helps tone down the tee and all black everything is a classic. However, the Yeezys are too bulky for the outfit – Stat stunted too hard. When it comes down to it, wear what you like, not for hype. Givenchy is progressive and modern but not right for everyone. 

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