The Tisci Touch
MJ Benitez (The Philippine Star) - February 10, 2017 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - With the frequency of designer moves increasing over the last few years, another exit announcement hardly seems to raise eyebrows anymore. And yet, this knowledge did nothing to soften the blow when Givenchy confirmed Riccardo Tisci’s departure from the storied fashion house last week. After all, his 12 years as Creative Director (second only to Hubert de Givenchy as the longest tenure in the luxury label’ s history) has undoubtedly influenced not only the French atelier (making it one of LVMH’s most successful brands) but the entire fashion spectrum as well. From creating standout haute couture looks and dressing pop culture icons to pioneering subversive streetwear staples, Tisci’s gothic aesthetic has permeated fashion consciousness and shaped the brand’s signature look. While we wait to see if there’s any truth to speculations that the Italian designer is poised to take over the reigns at Versace, allow us to wax nostalgic and look back on some of his greatest Givenchy hits.

Championing Diversity        

Since Riccardo Tisci took the helm at Givenchy in 2005, the designer has always pushed for diversity in both catwalk and campaign. For a fall 2010 advert, he cast his then-personal assistant Lea T. as one of the models — quickly launching the young Brazilian’s career as the world’s first transgender supermodel. He’s also been known to cast models of color for his shows, with the likes of Naomi Campbell, Mariacarla Boscono, Liya Kebede and Asia Chow serving as muses. “It doesn’t matter what (your cast’s) race is, what their gender or sexuality is, you should represent beauty — beauty is beauty,” the designer quipped in a 2015 interview with Style.com. Preach.

Fantastic Beauty

Counting top makeup artist Pat McGrath and master hairstylists Luigi Murenu and Guido Palau as his collaborators, the Italian designer has consistently dreamed up out-of-this-world beauty looks for his runway presentations. Cases in point: messy straight locks are paired with bright blue Swarovski crystal masks (the lips outlined in red) for spring 2014, chola-inspired baby hair and braids are juxtaposed with highly decorative Victorian face jewelry for fall 2015, and loose updos are gathered with metallic headbands to reveal elaborate lace cutouts adhered to the models’ visages for spring 2016. Talk about serving face.

9/11 Tribute

For Givenchy’s New York Fashion Week debut, Tisci presented an 88-piece spring/summer 2016 collection to an audience of 1,200, showcasing looks ranging from women’s and men’s RTW to haute couture designs inspired by his past decade with the fashion house. The show also featured a set (made entirely out of recycled materials) and an hour-long art performance done in close collaboration with artist Marina Abramovic as tribute to the 14th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Street Sensation

Remember when Kanye West donned an outsized Rottweiler-print tee and leather kilt for his “Watch The Throne” tour in 2011, sparking a massive street style frenzy? Or when Bambi — yes, Disney’s famous fawn — was given a gothic spin in Givenchy’s fall 2013 show via noir neoprene sweatshirts and leather backpacks? Thanks in part to Tisci’s rebellious approach to fashion, luxury streetwear has never become more covetable.

Met Gala Moments

Tisci is no stranger to the marriage of couture and pop culture, or to the idea of pushing sartorial boundaries. In fact, a look at some of his Met Gala muses quickly demonstrate this outspoken aesthetic: In 2013, Kim Kardashian’s pregnancy bloom was highlighted with a head-to-toe floral ensemble, complete with matching gloves and heeled steppers. In 2015, Beyoncé left little to the imagination with a stunning super-sheer gown strategically adorned with crystal embellishments (note: Tisci has been designing Queen B’s Met Gala looks annually since 2012). And in 2016, the designer fashioned a booty-baring lace-and-cutout frock for pop star Madonna as a response against age-ists and sexists. Love it or hate it, you can’t deny his scene-stealing designs are backed by plenty of star power.

POP CULTURE
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