Italian-born creative director of Givenchy Riccardo Tisci, has resurrected the Parisian house to its former profitable glory with dark, sensual and subversive collections. Impressively, Tisci has crafted distinct brand identities for all of Givenchy’s product categories across women’s and men’s ready-to-wear and haute couture.
Tisci grew up in a tight-knit, single parent working class family in Italy. The designer describes his family life as hugely influential on him and remembers his childhood as one filled with love. Tisci left regular school aged 11 to enroll in art school in Milan. The designer told The Daily Telegraph, "I wanted to express myself and I couldn't really do it through words at that point. I was very, very shy, very scared of life. It sounds screwed up but I would get bored with the kids at school who were always playing Pac-Man; I preferred to be at home painting or learning how to garden from my mum."
Tisci was selected for a scholarship by Central Saint Martins, from which he graduated in 1999. Tisci then held design positions at Puma, Antonio Berardi and with Ruffo Research, before embarking on his own brand in 2004. As a result of his bold, powerfully feminine designs, Tisci was announced as the creative director of Givenchy’s womenswear and haute couture lines in 2005. The designer told The New York Times, “Yes, I do have that impression. When I arrived at Givenchy, I was a guy from nowhere. And Givenchy was kind of confused. Nobody knew what it meant anymore.”
Tisci’s designs found willing consumers immediately; the designer’s vision for Givenchy initially found traction with consumers rather than editors. In just two years Tisci had revitalised the house’s couture business. Tisci told The New York Times in 2007, "When I arrived we had five customers. Now we have 29.” Tisci chose to stop showing couture in 2012, taking the business behind the scenes in house once more.
In May 2008 he was appointed chief designer of menswear and menswear accessories in addition to his womenswear role. His menswear collections have received rampant critical acclaim and caused the formation of tribe-like followers, many of whom, such as Kanye West, are very much in the public eye. Tisci’s marriage of streetwear influences, Parisian sensibilities and global motifs has made Givenchy’s printed sweatshirts a fashion staple, as well as broadening the brand’s appeal exponentially.