For a final farewell to the inimitable designer, the fashion house presents an A/W17 collection revisiting some of the signature looks from his 12-year tenure
When Riccardo Tisci announced his departure from the role of creative director at Givenchy earlier this year, the fashion world collectively gasped – after all, having spent 12 years at the helm of the storied fashion house, his impact there can hardly be overstated. In 2005, the Italian designer’s appointment at the maison was first met with scepticism – his arrival signalled the departure of its traditional muses (think: Audrey Hepburn and old Hollywood royalty) in place of a new #gang, and his streetwear inspirations appeared at first disanalogous with its couture heritage – yet, over the course of his tenure, he proved himself perfectly placed to evolve the legacy of Givenchy. 12 years on, Tisci has firmly cemented his Gallic, gothic and glamorous vision in the annals of fashion history – one that has been consistently met with praise and admiration.
As AnOther Magazine’s editor-in-chief Susannah Frankel wrote of the designer in 2010: “At Givenchy, Tisci just took that [Italian] mindset and added another layer: a quintessentially Gallic, ultra-chic overview that meant less conceptual posturing and more emphasis on tailoring that was as cool as it was sharp, juxtaposed with a highly complex ‘flou’ element that showed off the intricate workmanship that the Parisian ateliers are known for.” Alongside a strong reverence for the craft of making beautiful clothes (celebrating this sensibility through his couture collections in particular), Tisci also embraced a democratic new Givenchy woman: he was one of the first designers to cast a transgender model, Lea T, in the A/W10 campaign and far from snubbed the cult of celebrity, citing Kim Kardashian, Courtney Love and Madonna as icons that should be respected, not bashed.
So how best to pay homage to a designer who did so much to democratise and indeed, revolutionise fashion as we know it today? For A/W17, the Givenchy studio has revisited the legacy of the house by reproducing the iconic silhouettes of past collections in a signature shade: Givenchy red. These will also be available shortly in black and nude – two of the house’s other trademark colours. Tisci’s mark is evident throughout the 27 looks, via animal motifs, religious iconography and the Gothicism that was so prevalent throughout his designs, abundant embroidery and lace meeting with sportswear. Furthermore, each look has a label indicating the original season of the revisited look. We remember five collections that inspired this final tribute in red, which closes the chapter of Givenchy by Riccardo Tisci. As a final note: we say thank you, Riccardo – you’ll be missed.
Spring/Summer 2011: Strength and Sexuality
Celebrated in a Givenchy special in AnOther Magazine S/S11, where the collection was photographed by Lina Scheynius and styled by Cathy Edwards, Tisci’s S/S11 collection for the house explored, according to the designer, “Sexuality, religion, romanticism, gothicism. It’s about a woman who knows how to play with ambiguity. It doesn’t matter where she comes from. It doesn’t matter what she does, whether she’s a politician or a model. She’s an intelligent, strong woman, a woman who has something to say.” Here, such strength is revised in red: as relevant today as it ever was.
Autumn/Winter 2012: Peplum Boots and Slip Dresses
For the A/W12 collection, Tisci celebrated boyish tailoring with a feminine sensibility, influenced by the photography of Guy Bourdin. Silk slip dresses embellished with rhinestones and trimmed with lace were followed down the runway by mannish trousers and jackets. And then there was an ode to the peplum: we saw it in sleeves, in the A-line shape of coats and also, in the knee-high boots, heels covered in sheaths of leather. Plus, those leather gloves! Still completely covetable.
Autumn/Winter 2013: Bambi Sweatshirts
It was the sweatshirt that everyone wanted to wear – and the T-shirt, and the clutch bag and the backpack. For A/W13, Riccardo Tisci took his interpretation of streetwear to into a new domain with this charming, deconstructed Bambi motif that replaced the slobbering rottweilers of 2011: soft (it’s Bambi, after all) and yet still subversive. Reflecting this gentler side to Givenchy, the A/W13 show was soundtracked by Anohni of Antony and the Johnsons, a longtime friend of Tisci, who performed You Are My Sister, lyrics proclaiming: “You lived inside my world so softly, protected only by the kindness of your nature, you are my sister and I love you, may all of your dreams come true.” #love, indeed.
Spring/Summer 2014: Bejewelled Make-Up and Madame Grès
“I’m obsessed with Madame Grès,” said Riccardo Tisci of the influence behind his S/S14 collection. Remembered as The Spinx of Fashion and The Queen of Drapery, Tisci clearly referenced the work of the celebrated couturier by drawing attention to the female silhoutte, employing references to Japanese kimonos and sculpturally wrapping fabrics around the body. The make-up by Pat McGrath, long-time collaborator of the designer, took the form of bejewelled masks that required between eight and ten hours to apply, reflecting a couture sensibility in all aspects of the show, and which impact visibly reverberated throughout the industry.
Spring/Summer 2017: Riccardo’s Swansong
For his final women’s ready-to-wear collection at Givenchy, Riccardo Tisci elected to reflect on the current political climate. “Women are fighting for power, not only in America, but everywhere in the world,” he explained. “So I wanted to do something more sensual and more powerful, and for me, that’s tied to nature.” He showed this power by using the motif of metamorphic rocks, with prints of agate and gargantuan slices of stone suspended round the neck, alluding to a volcanic strength. The designer also employed a colour palette that was equally as fiery, in blazing reds and oranges. Little did we know that this would be the last we would see from the designer at Givenchy, but, on reflection, there was no better note to finish on.