Ten Unforgettable Takeaways from Riccardo Tisci's Tenure at Givenchy

Ten Unforgettable Takeaways from Riccardo Tisci's Tenure at Givenchy

In his twelve years at Givenchy, the creative director made a mark on fashion not soon to be forgotten.

In his twelve years at Givenchy, the creative director made a mark on fashion not soon to be forgotten.

Text: William Defebaugh

The Rottweiler Print

Riccardo Tisci developed many signature design motifs in his time at Givenchy, but none stand out more than his work with patterns. In his 12 years at the helm of the French house, the designer introduced numerous prints that would come to define the Givenchy cult aesthetic. While the Bambi and Virgin Mary collections are a close second, it's the original Rottweiler print that has stood the test of time (it just got a limited-edition capsule collection). Juxtaposing the gritty with the glamorous, that Fall 2011 men's collection can be seen in retrospect an emblem for Tisci's time.

The Dress Beyoncé Wore at the 2016 Met Gala

Tisci has become a red carpet favorite for everyone from Rihanna to Meryl Streep, easily capable of both elegant, feather-laden looks to jaw-dropping ensembles. His most memorable, though, was the gown he made for Beyoncé at the 2016 Met Gala. It was Bey's first appearance after releasing Lemonade, the album that found the musician famously singing about wearing her husband's alleged side-piece's skin and teeth. What did the designer do? He sent her out wearing flesh-colored latex dotted with white pearls. Genius.

The Campaign with Donatella Versace

Never one to follow the rules, Tisci made a bold move for his Fall 2015 ad campaign, choosing to cast fellow designer and longtime friend Donatella Versace in lieu of one of his Givenchy girls. It was a refreshing statement that ad campaigns needn't always be about top models and who has the most followers on social media.

The Floral Gown Worn by (a Very Pregnant) Kim Kardashian

It may be hard to remember, but there was once a time when Kim Kardashian was shunned by the fashion industry. Deemed too tacky, she was turned away from shows, and designers refused to dress her—but not Tisci. The floral gown she wore (while extremely pregnant) at the 2013 Met Gala was a loud statement that Tisci would embrace the reality TV star—setting a precedent that would later turn Kardashian into one of the most in-demand names in an industry that previously turned its back on her.

The Skirts for Men

Skirts became a hallmark of Tisci's menswear collections throughout the years, evidence of the ways in which the designer subverted masculinity. Often with patterns or layered over pants (some in leather, like the one first made famous by Kanye West onstage) with sneakers or rugged boots, they trod a carefully drawn line between the masculine and the feminine, proving that a man could look just as strong in a skirt as a suit.

The Spring 2012 Statement Jewelry

For his Spring 2012 couture collection, Tisci sent models down the runway with ornate jewelry that evoked tribalism (a running theme in his work). The exaggerated nose rings, in particular, would become the standout accessory of the season, appearing in editorials across just about every magazine on stands.

The September 11 show in New York City

Tisci chose to unveil his Spring 2016 collection for Givenchy with a runway show and party in New York City, an affair meant to celebrate both the opening of the brand's Madison Avenue Flagship (its first in N.Y.C.), and Tisci's ten-year anniversary as creative director. The show also happened to fall on September 11—a fact that raised more than a few brows among the fashion fold. But, per usual, the designer proved the skeptics wrong with a night dedicated to love and inclusiveness that felt more than appropriate for the occasion.

The Campaign with Lea T

Tisci's decision to cast Lea T, the transgender Brazilian supermodel, in Givenchy's Fall 2010 campaign made waves in fashion, catapulting both Lea's career and visibility for trans people. The story behind the casting choice is a powerful one as well; Lea was Tisci's longtime friend and personal assistant, nearing personal devastation after her family chose not to accept her decision to transition. Tisci chose to cast her both to help her finance her surgery, and purely because he always found her beautiful. He later told Details in an interview, "We did it in a really honest way. You know, very naïve. Like two friends loving each other. And in the end, it turned out to be this big thing, which is amazing."

The Madonna Wardrobe

A muse for the brand, Madonna has worn dresses and costumes by Tisci on numerous iconic occasions. He designed the looks for her 2010 Sticky and Sweet tour, and her 2012 Superbowl show, transforming the pop star into a gladiator—symbolic of their mutual approach to fearlessness in fashion. Plus, remember that dress that showed off her backside at last year's Met Ball?

The Nike Sneakers

It was the buzzword uttered by every street style savant and editor of the industry in 2016, but Tisci has been championing the "athleisure" aesthetic for years—most notably in his collaborations with Nike. His redesigned Air Force 1 was the must-have item of 2014. But it's evident in his work for Givenchy as well, having sent down as many t-shirts and jerseys as tailored couture gowns down the runway in his twelve years leading the brand.

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