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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Sunday, April 14, 2024

Art-à-porter: Riccardo Tisci’s Legacy to the Fashion World

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After 12 years as the creative director for Givenchy’s haute couture and ready-to-wear lines, Italian fashion designer Riccardo Tisci has left the French maison. According to insiders’ speculations, Tisci could be moving on to designing for Versace. These rumors are also based on the designer’s long-lasting friendship with Donatella Versace, evidenced by Versace being the face of Givenchy’s fall 2015 campaign.

This week, I would like to pay homage to and celebrate the work of Tisci by trying to explain the significance and controversy of his work. As many other virtuosos of his caliber, Riccardo Tisci graduated from the Central Saint Martins in London in 1999 and went on to work for brands like Puma, among others, before launching his first ready-to-wear collection under his eponymous brand at the Milan Fashion Week for fall-winter 2005/2006. From his first show, Tisci’s exceptional talent and style, mingling elements from post-apocalyptic sidereal style and punk culture, set him apart from many of his colleagues. The bold looks he presented on the runway got him noticed by the fashion elites, and in the same year, he was offered a position as creative director of Givenchy, a role he has held ever since.

One of the big reasons for Tisci’s éclat as a fashion designer was his ability to suit the demands of different customers, shown in his extensive collaborations with several commercial brands such as Nike. The Italian designer recently signed the latest hit in the world of "sneakerheads,” the NikeLab Air Zoom Legend, a Chelsea boot reinterpreted as a Nike sneaker. He told Vogue that when designing this shoe he was inspired by the sea waves in Brazil, which he decided to put a futuristic spin on. The color palette used on the heel is reminiscent of a Brazilian sunset on the sea, with colors ranging from aqua blue to lava pink with a hint of yellow. The top part of the boot is in a black mesh, which is Tisci’s way of autographing this modern take on a classic shoe model.

Furthermore, Tisci possesses what is arguably one of the fundamental qualities to achieve stardom in the world of fashion and the world of the arts: controversy. In Givenchy’s Pre-Fall Menswear Collection of 2013, he authored a seemingly plain black t-shirt, with the word “pervert” on the back hovering over the number “17." This garment not only caused scandal because of the deeply problematic glamorization of sexual assault but also because of its $325 price tag. It is mysterious, if not absurd, how this t-shirt sold out so quickly when it first came out. This design was also a particularly successful one in that it inspired the French brand Les (Art)ists to make similar t-shirts with the names of famous fashion designers on the back.

Moreover, it is also interesting to consider the controversial aspects of Tisci’s designs and the similar contentiousness of the work of many contemporary artists. It truly seems that in order to achieve a certain level of success in the arts one must be, above all, controversial.


Moreover, it is also interesting to consider the controversial aspects of Tisci’s designs and the similar contentiousness of the work of contemporary artists such as Marina Abramovic. The contemporary artist, for her performance piece Rhythm 0, laid harmful objects (such as a knife or a gun) on a table in an art gallery, and invited attendees to harm her using such objects. This piece was particularly controversial because of how it seemed to objectify the female body and how it displayed a woman being subjected to violence by men, despite the fact she had invited them to do it. Therefore, it truly seems that in order to achieve a certain level of success in the arts, like Abramovic and Tisci have, one must be, above all, controversial.