Elle Australia recently published a piece, entitled, “Riccardo Tisci's Most Iconic Givenchy Moments,” including the Bambi tees, the time model Candice Swanepoel fell on the runway (why is that even on the list?, we want to know) and Beyoncé and Jay Z's costumes for their “On The Run” tour. While the list serves as a very easy and brief read, we cannot help but think Elle missed A LOT, including but not limited to the Dior couture and tribal-inspired jewelry for Tisci’s Spring/Summer 2012 couture collection; almost the entire Fall/Winter 2009 couture collection; and Lea T’s debut for the brand. Here is our list of some of Tisci’s greatest moments …
The release of the Givenchy Nightengale Bag
Launched in late 2006, the debut of the Nightengale bag was particularly significant, as it marks the first real “it” item to come from Tisci’s tenure at the house. Prior to Tisci’s appointment in February 2005, the house saw the turnover of a number of creative directors (think: John Galliano, Alexander McQueen, and Julien Macdonald), none of whom introduced any accessories as significant as the Nightengale, which served as a more accessible item particularly when compared with the house’s couture and ready-to-wear creations. As a result, the Nightengale, which is often labeled as one of the most celebrated “it” bags in the last decade or so, has become a significant branding tool for the house and a noteworthy source of revenue, as have a number of the bags that have followed. Upon its debut, the Nightengale was favored by young Hollywood stars, including Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, Nicole Richie, and almost every model imaginable, and consumers followed.
Givenchy’s graphic t-shirts and sweatshirts
Tisci brought a sense of urban grittiness to Givenchy from early on – as derived from his impoverished youth and self-professed affinity for the hood – which took the form of high fashion-meets-street references in his main collections, including but certainly not limited to his street-inspired t-shirts and sweatshirts. From Rottweiler graphics to mirror-print florals, these relatively affordable wares took the fashion world by storm. Adopted by rappers and fashion industry insiders, alike, the brand’s luxury tees spawned a much larger movement in fashion towards luxe streetwear. It even expanded to his “costumes” for Kanye West and Jay-Z’s “Watch the Throne” tour, which consisted of many graphically printed t-shirts and leather trousers.
Fall/Winter 2009 Couture
In Sarah Mower’s review of Givenchy’s Fall/Winter 2009 couture collection, she stated: “It doesn't particularly matter any more in couture if a theme doesn't completely hold up to scrutiny. What counts are the other tests that apply to custom-made clothes: the specialness of each individual outfit and the relevance of the clothes to what a fashion-conscious woman might want to wear. It's on those points that Tisci's work at Givenchy makes its impact.” Certainly, she was referring to the veiled and draped silhouettes, and gold embroidery with a Middle Eastern influence; Karlie Kloss in a long white veil over an ivory patent-leather corset and cream pants, walking like some sort of science-fantasy princess; and the eveningwear, like a slick, high-necked, long-sleeved black pailletted gown, and—when stripped of the fluoro jeweling. This collection, with its many intricacies and strong themes, has been considered one of Tisci's best for the house.
A number of Oscars red carpet moments are worthy of a mention. First up, the purple ombre Spring/Summer 2010 couture gown that Zoe Saldana wore in 2010, and the lilac Spring/Summer 2011 couture frock that actress Cate Blanchett wore in 2011. Do not forget the Spring/Summer 2011 couture dress that Florence Welch wore at the 2011 Grammys. Also, there was the custom Givenchy couture gown that Julianne Moor wore to accept her 2015 Golden Globes Best Actress Award. And then there is the annual Metropolitan Museum of Art Anna Wintour Costume Center at the gala, which has drawn an array of custom and couture Givenchy creations – from Liv Tyler’s Spring/Summer 2011 couture gown to Beyonce’s 2015 nude gown and Kim K’s 2013 floral frock.
Spring/Summer 2010 Ad Campaign
Shot by Mert Alas & Marcus Piggott, Givenchy’s Spring/Summer 2010 campaign featured a number of the house’s usual suspects, such as Catherine McNeil, Joan Smalls, Malgosia Bela, and Mariacarla Boscono, among others. New to the lineup, however, was Lea T. For dedicated Givenchy-enthusiasts, the story of Leo T-turned-Lea T is not novel. However, for the uninitiated, Lea T got her start as Riccardo Tisci's assistant at Givenchy, before becoming an openly-transgender model and undergoing gender reassignment surgery, a process she began in 2008 and a topic she spoke about with Oprah in 2011. Since then, the 34-year old Brazilian model, has landed major campaigns for Redken, Benneton and Givenchy, of course; graced the covers of Elle and Love magazines; and appeared in editorials in various Vogues.
Fall/Winter 2010 Couture
Tisci’s Fall/Winter 2010 couture collection has proven to have longstanding appeal and influence. Not only are celebrity stylists still coming back to this collection for more recent red carpet appearances, other houses are looking to it for “inspiration” for their own collections as of late. For instance, Paris-based designer Zuhair Murad took a significant amount of inspiration from this collection for his Spring/Summer 2016 ready-to-wear collection, most notably, the tapering off of embroidery from the chest down to the thighs on a sheer skirt and then the placement of heavy embroidery again at the foot of the skirt, particularly in gold tones. Similarly, the specific feathered skirts from this collection have been copied as recently as this year by Peter Dundas - a longstanding Givenchy fan - for Roberto Cavalli, as seen in the dress that Kim Kardashian wore to the 2015 Met Gala and a look from Vera Wang’s Fall 2016 bridal collection.
Spring/Summer 2012 Couture
A standout in this collection, Vogue’s Nicole Phelps, noted in her review was “a white silk T-shirt tucked into a black silk cady skirt that unzipped almost all the way up to the right hip, the white sequin lining only flashing when the model walked by … it showcased the same kind of bravado as did the models' nose rings and doorknocker-size hoops. This is a designer with confidence to spare.” These ornate accessories, which have both tribal and Christian Dior couture roots - proved to be one of the most significant aspects - if not the most significant aspect - of many of the editorials and ad campaigns to follow.
While Kim Kardashian’s 2015 wedding, in which she wore a custom Givenchy gown, was extremely noteworthy, stylist Vanessa Traina-Snow’s wedding and her custom Givenchy dress actually preceded the reality star’s big day and was the subject of a lengthy Vogue spread, arguably starting the custom Givenchy wedding dress trend.
Fall/Winter 2015 Ready-to-Wear
Of this collection, Sarah Mower wrote for Vogue: “Victoriana is a subject which has been rising in many collections this season (just why is one of fashion’s mysteries). It crystalized as a moment that can only be described as sublime at Givenchy. Riccardo Tisci’s breathtaking configurations of velvet, lace, chiffon, and beading took ready-to-wear fashion to a level that reminded the audience of his abilities as a designer who has Parisian couture know-how in his fingertips—and of his consciousness of youth culture, which comes as second nature.” Maybe most interesting, however, was Tisci’s take on the collection: “Chola Victorian,” he called it.
Only Tisci would take Victorian references and marry them with the culture of Latin American street gangs. The result was girls with their faces decorated with metal jewelry, their hair slicked into kiss-curls around their temples and braided into rows at the back—“a Latina look adopted recently by FKA twigs,” according to Mower. Also worth noting … Tisci’s continual embrace of racial diversity on the runway (and in ad campaigns). Something many houses simply do not embrace.
Tisci’s return to couture: Spring/Summer 2016 menswear show
Following a public movement away from couture, including slowly doing away with couture runway shows and presentations altogether, Tisci announced that he would reintroduce couture in showing his Spring/Summer menswear collection. As such, amongst the male models, walked girls in Tisci’s Fall/Winter 2015 couture collection.
Spring/Summer 2016 womenswear show in New York on September 11th
To coincide with the re-opening of Givenchy’s New York City flagship, the Paris-based brand, which normally unveils its collections in Paris, staged the its Spring 2016 show during New York Fashion Week. In something of a fashion extravaganza, creative director Riccardo Tisci did not merely show his S/S 2016 womenswear collection but also showed menswear and haute couture. He teamed up with performance artist pal Marina Abromovic and allotted something like 800 tickets for public attendees. And it all happened in downtown Manhattan on September 11th. It was certainly the most talked-about show of the Spring/Summer 2016 show season.