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Riccardo Tisci is leaving Givenchy after 12 years with the French luxury house, WWD reports this morning. Tisci was a revelation at the house and served as a stabling force over the past dozen years. He was one of the few designers who made haute couture as beautiful as his ready-to-wear was actually, you know, ready to wear.
What will be remembered most from Tisci’s tenure is that you were just as likely to see his custom designs on the red carpet as you were on rappers getting street-styled walking around New York City. The designer’s dark, romantic, and sometimes sex-charged designs were favorites of Cate Blanchett, Julia Roberts, Meryl Streep, Beyoncé, and Kim Kardashian. The variety of celebrities Tisci dressed speaks to how he was able to balance all of the different variables that entered the Givenchy orbit.
The through-line, though, is that Tisci made Givenchy wearable. If it wasn’t dresses that consistently got celebrities ranked on best-dressed lists in red carpet postmortems, it was incredibly viral hoodies and T-shirts.
Celebrities like Kanye, Rihanna, Usher, Pink!, and Tyga (that’s as B-list as I care to go here, but there were countless others) made sure of that. The first was the Rottweiler tees, but Tisci had other hit items that featured graphics of sharks and Madonna. His graphics were a powerful force in pushing the now-ubiquitous fashion-streetwear crossover.
Givenchy under Tisci was steered to succeed in the current social media environment. Not only were the clothes a hit under the designer, but the label also played the influencer and social game to perfection. The designer made friends with powerful figures and even designed the gown Kim Kardashian wore in her wedding to Kanye, as well as the infamous Met Gala couch dress. He skillfully used these influencers as walking billboards for his recognizable designs.
Maybe not so coincidentally, Givenchy just re-released its Rottweiler tees, which will surely see a spike in value thanks to this announcement. But perhaps we should have noticed that it was a bad sign, running back once-popular designs: a signal that Tisci had run out of fresh ideas for Givenchy. The label hasn’t had the impact the past couple seasons that it had earlier this decade.
If rumors are true that Tisci is leaving Givenchy to head to Versace — to work with personal friend Donatella Versace — it’s a move we should fully get behind. Tisci made it clear during his time with Givenchy that he wasn’t afraid to experiment with the types of big, bold, eye-catching graphics that Versace is known for. The designer would bring a dark edge to Versace as well as the intangible coolness he’s injected into his no- former post.
But before those rumors materialize, Tisci’s final custom couture dresses for Givenchy will be worn by celebrities attending the Grammys and Oscars this month. The dresses will be a fitting swan song for Tisci.