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Tisci and Givenchy: ‘Challenging the concept of exclusivity’


When Riccardo Tisci was asked in 2005 to join fashion house Givenchy as the new creative director, he didn’t understand why the brand – known for Audrey Hepburn’s little black dress and bourgeois French style – wanted him.

Young, provocative, toying with gothic references; he wasn’t an obvious choice.

Givenchy isn’t the only heritage house to recruit a young creative lead. Olivier Rousteing, 29, was made creative director of Balmain in 2011; Emilio Pucci welcomed Massimo Giorgetti into its established Italian business earlier this year; Alexander Wang, who has since left, spent a short while at Balenciaga; and Jonathan Andersen, at age 30, joined luxury label Loewe for a revamp.

Bernard Arnault, chairman and CEO of LVMH, the umbrella business that owns Givenchy, admitted that there’s always an element of risk.

“It’s not enough [to have a designer with talent]. You have examples in the fashion world of very talented designers with very good brands and, sometimes, it does not work,” he says.

Not the case for this collaboration. Ten years on, Riccardo Tisci is the brand and the brand has evolved.

According to Tisci, before he joined the business, Givenchy was missing passion and youth. As a young designer, he brought these two elements to the brand.

Today, Givenchy is relevant and innovative – celebrity fans include Kanye West and Rihanna – but the brand is still firmly propped up by the success and longevity of its history.

This season, Givenchy and Tisci celebrated their tenth anniversary together with another bold move. The 63-year-old brand relocated its SS16 ready-to-wear show from its usual Parisian home to the streets of New York.

What’s more, in the days leading up to the event, the house announced that it would be offering tickets to the show to hundreds of members of the public – challenging the concept of exclusivity and high fashion. With the rise of social media, the doors are ajar, why not fling them open?

Tisci, a lover of Americana since childhood, knew that if he was going to come to New York once, he wanted to make a statement. He wanted to, in his words, “celebrate it properly”.

The result? A spine-tingling presentation against the backdrop of Manhattan at dusk on September 11, co-directed by the artist – and Tisci’s friend – Marina Abramović.

More than 80 models walked the runway in a mixture of ready-to-wear and couture looks, live performances were heard and six tracks – spanning genres and cultures from around the world – drifted across pier 26 on the Hudson River as the brand made its announcement: we’re relevant, we’re bold and – perhaps most significantly, since the luxury sector has recently been courting China – we are committed to the US market.

Content shared exclusively with LuxuryMena by CNN Style.

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