In a saturated, fondant-pink cube like a hollowed-out hunk of marzipan, lit with fluorescent tubes like a Dan Flavin sculpture, Riccardo Tisci showed his collection for this season. Oddly, given the confined space and intense light, the theme was freedom. The Italian designer enjoys tackling big themes and abstract notions such as freedom or love or the dark obsessions of the soul. Translating those kinds of ideas into cloth is tricky. Nevertheless, in the end, he's a fashion designer : it’s his job. The other problem with trying to wrestle those kinds of proto-philosophical musings into a bomber jacket is that it can all come off a bit glib. Where was the freedom, really, in this offering ? The palette was controlled, the decoration precise. For Riccardo Tisci, it was sort of plain. There were snakes on his plain -a new Givenchy house motto reared its head; it was a cobra. It appeared half a dozen times as intarsias, prints, and odd cutout bomber jackets that looked a bit lumpy, as if said cobra had swallowed something oddly shaped. Freedom brings us, of course, to the land of the free : the United Sates of America, a land Riccardo Tisci has been enamored with for years, even upping sticks to show his tenth anniversary collection there. His interpretation this time round was actually America via Africa -Botswana, specifically, where renegade street gangs dress up in leather-heavy Marlboro Man drag in the kind of odd collision of cultures the designer adores. He felt free to throw in Berlin club kids and Moroccan colors for good measure, balancing his men atop a pointed-toe, Cuban-heeled cowboy boot. The cowboys got rhinestoned, with crystals and gleaming copper rivets the size of a dime and the color of a newly minted penny pocking the surfaces of coats, the groin of trousers, the plackets of denim jackets. You name it, it was riveted. As a critic, you didn't see snakes, or screaming faces, or a crucified figure with Givenchy scrawled above. You saw pounds, dollars, yen, yuan -and maybe Botswana's pula, although it's unlikely Givenchy has a store out there yet. In other words, business as usual. Riccardo Tisci can be one of the most successful menswear designers in Paris. You see echoes of his signatures -namely, the giant prints frequently layered over other giant prints, everything engineered to match perfectly- in multiple collections. You also see them on the backs of multiple men, who throng Givenchy boutiques and pick over eBay in fervent search for more of the same. In that respect, Riccardo Tisci played to his strengths -his strength being commercial, this time at the expense of the creative. This collection was heavy on the metal, but light on new ideas, restating rather than innovating. Which is okay -every designer deserves a season fallow, pulling back in order to push forward. He's done plenty of pushing -he should feel free to rest on his laurels for a season or two. However, Paris menswear is throbbing with energy. Mr Tisci's timing was off. So it was long due : his employment agreement came to an end on January 31, 2017 and LVMH didn't renew it.