The Romance of Riccardo Tisci

Eleven years ago, a 29-year-old Riccardo Tisci was appointed as Givenchy’s Creative Director. Raised in a devout Catholic family, the only son with eight older sisters, Tisci parlays his respect and admiration for all the women in his life into clothes that tell stories of passion, devotion and strength. His odes to the street, to religion, to tribes, to love, and to his Italian heritage, manifest into soul-stirring collections—for both men and women—that provide an insight into his mind. Tisci’s message has been crystal clear from the start: Fashion should be inclusive and free of judgement. It’s a powerful stance that has triumphantly reprogrammed a storied Parisian House into one of the coolest and most talked-about brands in fashion right now.

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Joining the ranks of the Nightingale and the Antigona, the Horizon bag is Givenchy’s newest crowning jewel. Every aspect of the bag, from its structural shape to the luxurious leathers, has been carefully designed to best express the rigorous codes of the House. As for its name? It was especially chosen to convey a sense of hope. “Actually, I came up with the name really fast. We thought of the last decade of our story at Givenchy and going into the next one and I wanted to deliver a positive message, to evoke the prospect of a bright future,” Tisci explains. “And what better word than ‘Horizon’? It is a feeling we all know, looking at a bright, wide horizon and feeling like nothing is impossible. I like the poetry of the name, the story it tells.” In other words: Classic Tisci.

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“Tisci’s message has been crystal clear from the start: Fashion should be inclusive and free of judgement”


Tisci’s vision of beauty may seem dark and twisted, but it’s really multi-faceted and layered. His use of dramatic makeup and jewellery further builds on his narrative on tribes at Givenchy. After all, face decoration has played an important role in cultures all over the world, from African Masai warriors to Australian Aboriginals. Created together with visionary makeup artist Pat McGrath, exquisite feathers, jewels and crystals are painstakingly applied to bare visages to create works of art that are part poetic, part fetishistic.

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With family shaping Tisci’s life, thoughts and ethics, it is little wonder the soulful 42-year-old Italian designer believes in finding solidarity in numbers. Which explains why, besides crafting clothes for a new generation looking to belong to a tribe or gang of sorts, Tisci has built a close support system of friends that include stars such as Madonna, Kanye West, Kim Kardashian and Carine Roitfeld.


Tisci moved his spring/summer 2016 show from Paris to New York to celebrate the opening of the brand’s Madison Avenue boutique and his accolades-filled decade at Givenchy. Held on the 14th anniversary of the September 11 attacks, the poignant staging will be remembered as more than just a new starting point for Tisci—it was a timely reminder that love is really what the world needs.

By Gerald Tan

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