Purple Magazine
— F/W 2006 issue 6

Riccardo Tisci

Riccardo Tisci

Future Givenchy
interview by OLIVIER ZAHM
photography KARL LAGERFELD

All clothes by GIVENCHY WINTER 2006 ⁄ 2007 and archives


RICCARDO TISCI, 31, who hails from a very Catholic, southern Italian family, is the new designer at Givenchy. In less than three seasons, he has refreshed the powerful elegance of this aristocratic label, one so deeply rooted in a secret, confidential Paris that has now almost disappeared. But Ricardo Tisci is not nostalgic. His vision for this house is grander than a modern Givenchy, encompassing a strong fashion statement, elegance and wildness, extreme chic and freedom: two sides of the moon, the dark and the brilliant.

OLIVIER ZAHM — When did you arrive at Givenchy?
RICCARDO TISCI — The first of March 2005.

OLIVIER ZAHM — Was it a big moment for you?
RICCARDO TISCI — Shocking. Especially because I came from nothing.

OLIVIER ZAHM — How did you start in Milan?
RICCARDO TISCI — I was consulting for an old Italian fashion label in Milan called Cocapanne, where I started as creative director, when I was 23. In my last season at Cocapanne—two and a half years ago—I got a call from Ruffo Research because they wanted to re-start. Haider Ackerman had been there three years before. They had closed for a year and they called me back to restart it. So I left Cocapanne and signed a contract with Ruffo. Then in July, Mr. Ruffo called me to come to Florence, just to tell that they were having financial problems and had to stop the collection immediately.

OLIVIER ZAHM — So you were fired before you even started?
RICCARDO TISCI — I found this out on July 27th. The 1st of August was my birthday. I was so depressed and disappointed. Can you imagine? For a young designer to have a chance like that—after all I’d gone through, they cancelled my collection. That summer I went back to Milan completely destroyed. Because the entire collection was ready and we were supposed to show it in Milan in October. I thought Ruffo Research was a great label, and to have them cancel made me a little crazy. So with the little energy I had left I went to India on the 4th of August. I have a friend there who has an embroidery company, and he suggested that I go there and make some clothes. I didn’t want to give up so I spent the month there making my collection, ready to present it on the 22nd of September in Milan, with Karen Elson, Maria Carla Boscono, all the girls. I made an off-schedule show.

OLIVIER ZAHM — You had no other choice but to create your own line?
RICCARDO TISCI — I had one month to do the whole collection. I was less upset with Ruffo Research than I was with my destiny. After so many years of sacrifice, I refused to be fucked like that at 29. I’m a pattern maker, trained at Central St. Martins. I made a little collection with about 50 pieces, and when I arrived in Milan with the model Maria Carla—who is my best friend—she and some other friends and models helped me set up a little show off schedule. In Milan, if you are off schedule it is basically illegal. We did a great show in a big warehouse outside Milan, and by word of mouth, everybody came. At the end of the day, models are the best PR. Leah brought her friends, Maria Carla brought Carine Roitfeld, and it was a nice crowd. We organized it in one week, and through that I found my financial backers.

Feathered gown in gradient grey GIVENCHY haute-couture summer 2006

OLIVIER ZAHM — What year was that ?
RICCARDO TISCI — That was in 2004. I did a second collection and got a lot of press. Then I was invited by Givenchy to come to Paris. That was a big shock.

OLIVIER ZAHM — You only did two seasons under your name?
RICCARDO TISCI — Two seasons, and then met somebody that wanted to buy 70% of the company. But I didn’t want to sell it. Then afterwards, I went to the Italian Fashion Council, who wanted to pay for my show, but I said no because I wanted to show off schedule. In Italy, if you show on schedule you have to show where they want you to. If you are big like Prada or Versace, you can show wherever you want. But if you’re a young designer you have to show in a fake setting with bad lighting. I preferred to show in a big place and find people to do the production. The first season I made the collection myself, but for my second season I found a company in Italy to produce it. They are the best company in Italy, and produce Rick Owens and a few other designers. The second collection was an even bigger success. I did not have any budget. The first season sold very well at Maria Luisa, Barneys etc. I did everything myself. I even sold the clothes myself out of a hotel room. Then, out of the blue, Givenchy called, and after the second show they invited me to Paris. The first time I met them they just wanted to see my collection and my look book. I showed them my press book which included the work that I had done at Central St. Martins, Cocapanne, and Puma. I had also been the creative director at Puma.

OLIVIER ZAHM — How did the meeting go with Givenchy?
RICCARDO TISCI — I showed them everything, then saw them the second time and they asked me what I wanted to do with my future. I understood it as a proposition for Givenchy—they were asking me what I thought of Givenchy as an historic label. I was very honest. I was very sure that I was not going to get the job. In the press, not many people knew me apart from underground people. I was in Milan one week before my show, and there was an article in WWD that came out featuring designers all over the world—New York, London, etc. A few Italian designers were mentioned, but not my name, so I felt like I was not interesting enough to get the job. Actually, I understood something was going on at my show in Milan because there was a lot of attention. The show took place an hour outside of Milan, and was packed with people. Karla Otto came back stage saying “I don’t know what’s going on outside, people are going crazy.” It was strange. After the show all the press came. The first show brought mostly magazines, but now all the papers were there—Suzy Menkes, WWD, everybody. Two days after the show, I got a call from Marco Bobetti, the president of Givenchy, asking me to come to Paris to meet them. It was 9am, and I was sleeping. I’d been out partying the night before with all of my friends from London and Tokyo. I came to Paris and met Marco and everybody else straight away. For two months I was like a ghost, wandering around my house because I could not believe what was happening. It was like I’d been in a car accident.

OLIVIER ZAHM — It was like a dream ?
RICCARDO TISCI — The first few months were a dream about chance, destiny, the luck of it. My life changed in every way. I had never had an assistant in my life—I always worked by myself. To find myself here with 85 people was a shock. In all of Paris there are about 140 people working for Givenchy. When I signed the contract I met Givenchy Japan, Givenchy Italy, etc. It’s like a family—then moving to Paris, getting all of this attention, everybody on my back. But I’m in love with this fashion house, I’m very happy here. The first few months I worked day and night, just from the energy and excitement of being here.

OLIVIER ZAHM — Were you immediately projected into the work?
RICCARDO TISCI — Straight away. My first collection was couture! The first day I started I met everybody, and after a month and a half I had to present the pre-collection, and after two months the Haute Couture. So you can imagine what was happening in my head after two months, between designing and meeting all new people. I was lucky that the team at Givenchy are so great—and really nice. It was not in my interests when I arrived, to ask everybody to leave, and get an all new team. I kept everybody, and those who decided they did not fit with my style left by themselves.

OLIVIER ZAHM — What was the first season you did for Givenchy ?
RICCARDO TISCI — I did the pre-collection first for spring/summer. What scared me was doing the couture. Can you imagine, 29 years old in a big couture house? I think I really started to enjoy being at Givenchy the day after I finished the couture show. I remember the night of the show I nearly had a heart attack— everything together—it was crazy.

OLIVIER ZAHM — You were really a young underground designer, who immediately blew up. It’s normally not like that. It’s gradual. You make many collections, which takes time…
RICCARDO TISCI — It was a big jump from my own collection to Givenchy’s. My history with fashion started when I was very young. I’m from Italy. My parents are from the south, but I grew up in Milan. I lost my father when I was 6, and I have a very big family—8 older sisters. We were a very poor family. I started to work when I was 12, and started art school at 14. When I finished at 17, I won a prize to work for a company designing fabrics in Cormo. In Milan you have to be rich to study fashion and go to university, because the Italian government does not help you. So I decided to move to London.

OLIVIER ZAHM — Did someone push you in the direction of the arts or was it your intuition?
RICCARDO TISCI — It was my own feelings. My family worked in factories. No one worked in art or fashion. I have a great family and they give me a lot of love, but they could never help me out financially. So I had to start really young, myself.

OLIVIER ZAHM — What’s it like being raised among eight girls ?
RICCARDO TISCI — Great. I loved it. I have a fantastic relationship with my family. There are eight girls, but they are not really girly. We all grew up in the same situation, so my sisters are all very tough. They didn’t have an easy life. They are all very sweet and very feminine, but tough. Eight women growing up without a father—you have to be strong. And my mother! She’s an amazing woman. She could feed the entire family from one piece of bread. None of us have any psychological problems or drug problems, and we’re all quite free.

Black cotton coat with collar GIVENCHY winter 1960, black boots GIVENCHY winter 2005 and bell shaped panther fur hat GIVENCHY 1961

OLIVIER ZAHM — How did your parents meet ?
RICCARDO TISCI — My mother moved from Boulia, in the south, to Milan when she was 16, to work, where she met my father, who was also from Boulia. So they started making kids. [laughs]

OLIVIER ZAHM — Your sisters were not attracted by fashion or art?
RICCARDO TISCI — They were not attracted by fashion then and still aren’t. That’s the great thing, because my family only knows what’s happening in my life financially. But that’s nothing for them, because they are happy for me.

OLIVIER ZAHM — Do they come to your shows ?
RICCARDO TISCI — Yes. They’re very supportive and proud. They haven’t missed one. In Italy it became a big story, the fact that my sisters even exist. Now they meet everyone and everyone who meets them is shocked to see eight sisters standing together. But their lives haven’t changed. For them, working as a lawyer or working in a factory is the same thing: it’s work. They think that I’m lucky because I do something I love.

OLIVIER ZAHM — Is it because of your sisters that you’re interested in women’s clothes—to see how a woman dresses?
RICCARDO TISCI — Definitely. Even if we did not have the money we would have liked, in our house there was always a very strong sense of beauty. My oldest sister is 54, but looks like she is 40—and really knows how to dress. I remember when I was very young, sitting on the bath tub, watching my sisters on a Friday night putting on make up and getting ready to go out. I was fascinated by the ritual of it all. Especially because they were all one year apart, so they were very close and would all go out like friends in a big group. Every friday night was a ritual to see my sisters getting ready to go out clubbing.

OLIVIER ZAHM — That must have been in the late 70s early 80s?
RICCARDO TISCI — I was born in 1974, so that was the beginning of the 80s. I remember vividly my sisters’ perms and blue and black eye shadow. It was the period of new wave, so two of my sisters in particular would go out with black nails and black makeup—very Goth It drove my mother a little crazy. In Milan at that time there were lots of very young and wealthy people, and another group that was very Goth

OLIVIER ZAHM — What kind of music did you listen to?
RICCARDO TISCI — One side listened to house, techno, or George Michael, another to gothic. If you see pictures of me when I was 14, I was very Goth with long black hair, and very skinny. I went to art school. My mother was OK with that, because my sisters had already opened those doors. At school I was not really liked by the teachers. I was very good at school, but was completely revolutionary as a person—always doing something bold. If ever there was a strike or something, I was the one who organized it.

OLIVIER ZAHM — Were you political?
RICCARDO TISCI — Yes. I was completely left. I lost that when I moved to London. I cut my hair. I changed my life completely. It was a new start. I was very scared. Today I’m open to talking about my life. When I was younger I was the most shy and closed person in the world. Even Maria Carla, who has know me for years said in Cannes, she was amazed that I did the red carpet, because I was always so shy. That’s why as an adolescent I covered myself in long hair and lots of make up—white face—completely Goth London helped me a lot, school helped me a bit, and then work. Givenchy has been the perfect psychologist.

OLIVIER ZAHM — What was it like to go from Milan to London with no money?
RICCARDO TISCI — Hard core. I went to London when I was seventeen and a half and worked the whole summer in an atelier for a fabric designer. I had already worked one year in Milan designing fabrics for Missoni, Paloma Picasso, etc. I was working freelance for this company straight out of art school.

OLIVIER ZAHM — It’s a bit like Stefano Pilati’s story ?
RICCARDO TISCI — Yes, but he was choosing fabrics and I was designing fabrics—starting from drawings on transparent paper, which is very typical of Cormo. I loved it. When you freelance, no one can control you or tell you what to do. I was making quite good money for a 17-year-old guy.

Feather and tulle gown with red leather gloves GIVENCHY haute-couture summer 2006

OLIVIER ZAHM — Did you have an apartment in Cormo ?
RICCARDO TISCI — No, I lived with my mother because I wanted to save money to go to London. I went to Cormo every day by train, and on the weekends I would stay there with friends.

OLIVIER ZAHM — You devoted your life to fashion at a very young age?
RICCARDO TISCI — It’s not that I devoted my life to fashion. I was devoted to what helped me express myself. Before it was art, and later it was fashion. Fashion came as an accident, because I loved it and I was lucky to get a job in the industry. It was not so much whether I wanted to be an artist or a designer. It was the only way for me to get out of my shit, and to express myself.

OLIVIER ZAHM — So you completed art school and immediately got a first job in the industry?
RICCARDO TISCI — Some professionals came to the final graduation and they chose two people. I did an internship for two months, and after I got a job on the freelance side. I would be paid for my designs.

OLIVIER ZAHM — You liked it?
RICCARDO TISCI — I loved it. Anything that involves designing and research and experimenting, I love. The man I was working for was one of the first people to really believe in me. The summer after I finished working there I said goodbye, because I wanted to leave in September to go to London. In August I had the worst job ever—cleaning a hotel to save money to go to London. My sisters did not want me to go to London. They thought I ’d be back in three months, because I didn’t speak English well. My mother was the one who encouraged me. She said that I would probably never come back, which I didn’t until I did my collection, three years ago. I went to London and did the worst jobs you can imagine, like cleaning. I did anything to survive. Then one day I was in the tube, and they were handing out a free paper, and there was an article that said if you want to be a designer there was a  free fashion program, paid for by the government, at the London College of Fashion. It was a short program to direct yourself, whether your interests were in photography or fine arts. I did it because I wanted to learn English, and I knew I wanted to be a designer but I didn’t have a lot of money. After that came the luck of my life. My illustration teacher was the business partner of Antonio Berardi. He said to me that I had talent and I should be in a real school. I told him that I didn’t have the money to go and so he helped me get an internship with Antonio Berardi. I just saw Antonio the other day—he’s still a dear friend of mine. Everyone at Antonio’s studio said that I should go to Central St. Martin’s. I thought it was crazy and too expensive, but they said I should try. They take 1000 people in the school and you have to do an interview and a placement test. They called me and said that I had a place and I explained that I did not have any money so they gave me an exam to win a grant and I won the grant. Basically the Queen saved my life—England saved my life. They paid for my school.

OLIVIER ZAHM — You were still interning at Antonio Berardi while going to Central St. Martin’s?
RICCARDO TISCI — As soon as I started school I stopped working for Antonio, but it was a great experience. He was my first encounter with fashion, my first show. I remember it well, the energy, Kate Moss coming to the atelier. This is how I discovered the real world of fashion. I knew everything, but did not really know it first person—the back stage, the production… He also went to St. Martin’s. I was going to school in the morning and working in the evening. I was very good at illustration so the teachers gave me the opportunity to make a little extra money, and I was going to rich women’s houses to give them private drawing lessons.

OLIVIER ZAHM — Who were your design references at the time? Who were you following?
RICCARDO TISCI — The ones I loved then are the same one I love now: Gianni Versace, Yohji Yamamoto, Comme Des Garcons. I was around when Versace became a big boom. Yohji was really big in Italy in the 90s, and I would always read about him in the magazines and was fascinated by what he was doing, and still am. I love Madeleine Vionet, Pierre Cardin. People call me gothic, but I think of it as being in love, romantic. Gianni created romanticism in haute couture. I love his concepts. You’re French, you love YSL. I identify with the Italian in Versace. The dream of all my sisters is to be given a dress by Gianni Versace.

OLIVIER ZAHM — The connection between your style, your aesthetic, and Versace is not immediately apparent.
RICCARDO TISCI — No, it’s not my inspiration either. I’m not inspired by other designers. Versace is just what I love, what I admire, like looking at a painting by Picasso and getting touched on the inside. The first time I looked at a Versace book, I don’t know, it probably comes from the DNA of being Italian.

OLIVIER ZAHM — Maybe it was the dream of success?
RICCARDO TISCI — Success and rock stars. Like Versace, I always loved music and fashion. He was really the first one in Italy to have rock stars wear his clothing on the covers of magazines. He was on television. I remember the first show of Versus in the street. I was 15 or 16 and fascinated with models in the street. I was proud to be Italian. He was a genius. He did so many things that inspired all of us designers—and not copying. So much of what I see these days really relates to his work. He was never afraid to experiment. He put his heart into fashion, into music. He mixed prostitution and fashion. He was one of the first people to glamorize transvestites, sex. He helped personalities like Ru Paul. I loved his freedom.

OLIVIER ZAHM — And he had a certain element of excess. In a way he died from that.
RICCARDO TISCI — When most people go to extremes they become tacky. His was the only kind of tackiness in the fashion industry that I loved. He was the only one who could do it. When I went to see his clothes at the V&A exhibition I was shocked to see this amazing dress with huge gold pleats and medusas and parachute details.

Black coat in wool felt with feathered sleeves and collar, white cotton blouse and velvet pleated skirt GIVENCHY winter 2006, hat archives GIVENCHY winter 1995, boots GIVENCHY HAUTE-COUTURE winter 2006

OLIVIER ZAHM — He was one of the first designers to mix pop culture and fashion. Now that you’re in Givenchy, you’re on the aristocratic side of fashion.
RICCARDO TISCI — I’m still myself, but I respect the code and the role of Givenchy. So the first thing that I thought when they chose me, was “Why?” Givenchy is so classical and I’m such a different style. But now that I’m here and I have gone through the archives, I have discovered a new world of Givenchy. As a student and a young designer I never knew so much about Givenchy, for a couple of reasons: first, I could not do so much research as a young designer. A big fashion house can buy vintage clothes, see things, and gather archives. Second, even though I discovered Givenchy when I was young, they have always been very closed, very protected.

OLIVIER ZAHM — How do you see Givenchy now?
RICCARDO TISCI — Givenchy is not only about Audrey Hepburn: it’s much more extravagant. It’s always been super chic and aristocratic, but with a touch of craziness. In France people think it’s all about YSL and Christian Dior, which is absolutely true. But what Hubert did for Givenchy represents the Parisian woman perfectly. Never overly crazy for color, it has always been very black—he was very dark as a designer. It brings to mind the image of a black cocktail dress on Audrey Hepburn. He was one of the first ones to use black models in the 50s. In the salon of couture, he did a collection with all black models wearing all white clothes.

OLIVIER ZAHM — These are things nobody knows. Is that why you only used black models as the first looks to open your show?
RICCARDO TISCI — Me, I am very open with race. I wanted to make a statement, by simply asking why there are so many dark women and nobody uses them?

OLIVIER ZAHM — Because black women and French fashion references YSL. We always think of YSL in the 70s.
RICCARDO TISCI — Hubert is the first one who hired black models in 1955-57. It’s not something that just anyone told me—the people who work here who told me. If you go through the archives, we have all the old look books from the 50s. When I arrived here I discovered a world that I felt safer in. It’s very aristocratic, but always with a touch of craziness.

OLIVIER ZAHM — Have you been to his Hotel particulier in Paris?
RICCARDO TISCI — I was very lucky to be the first person he met in the 10 years since he left here. I was invited to his house and spent the morning with him. It’s very beautiful from outside, and the garden is beautiful. It’s a very closed world. I wish I could have that. He has the things that make him happy, his art, his friends. He travels and he has this amazing house and garden, which he loves. Meeting him was a big moment for me. When I arrived in Paris I didn’t want to be a super-star. He basically wanted to meet me because he saw my work and really liked it. I’d already fallen in love with the heritage of Givenchy. For many years, Givenchy has been left in the corner, which is not right because it really represents couture in history, in France. It has its own code, which no one can take away. I see a lot of things in magazines that have been taken from Givenchy.

OLIVIER ZAHM — So you were invited to his house?
RICCARDO TISCI — For breakfast. I was so nervous I didn’t sleep the night before. I wore trainers and jeans and a jacket. I hate jackets. I’m a jeans and T-shirt guy. There have been so many times I go to a meeting and people ask, “Where is Mr. Tisci?” — they think I’m the assistant. Mr. Givenchy was nice. I stayed all morning and did not say a word about Givenchy or about fashion. We talked about art, gardening, which I love as well, about life in general, family, many things. I looked at my watch and it was noon, and I could not believe how the time had passed. It was one of the greatest days in my life—to be a guest in the home of someone whose fashion house is his name. He was very aristocratic, very chic, very well educated, and talked to me like a father. I left there almost in tears. That was one month before the couture show, and he gave me so much energy. At 6:30, the morning of the couture show, he called to wish me good luck. I was completely shaking. He said he was not going to come, but he would be there in spirit. After that we met a few times and I’m not going to say that we’re absolute friends, but I feel safe with him.

OLIVIER ZAHM — You feel protected in a way by him?
RICCARDO TISCI — Yes, and I don’t know from what or where—it’s just a psychological thing.

OLIVIER ZAHM — Is it important for you, having lost your father when you were very young?
RICCARDO TISCI — Yes, and it’s nice because when I see him I never talk about fashion. I didn’t want anyone to know that I met Hubert because I didn’t want that to become a press thing. I didn’t want people to think that I wanted him to like me. I want people to respect me for what I’m doing.

Cashmere cape, woollen vest and black cotton shirt with ‘3D’ collars, black pants GIVENCHY winter 2006, platform heels GIVENCHY summer 2006

OLIVIER ZAHM — Why did he stop?
RICCARDO TISCI — I don’t know and don’t want to know. I think he left a beautiful memory that is chic just like that.

OLIVIER ZAHM — He chose this place for chez Givenchy ?
RICCARDO TISCI — From day one it has been here. I love this building. There is a very good vibe here. We have lots of problems, we don’t have a huge budget, but there are a lot of positive feelings in this building. Mr. Givenchy, he said to me, “I will tell you one thing: remember that the success in your life is the people in the atelier working for you, so treat them well, for me.” He is still very attached to his atelier. Most of the people are still there.

OLIVIER ZAHM — Is Maria Carla Boscono the new Audrey Hepburn?
RICCARDO TISCI — Maria Carla has always been my muse. Now she’s become the muse of Givenchy. She is my Audrey Hepburn, but I cannot really say it like that. She’s starting an acting career. I saw her in a play in New York called The Maids. She was great. It was great.

OLIVIER ZAHM — What’s your connection to Maria Carla ?
RICCARDO TISCI — I see her as a great model, and now a super star. The story started before she was famous and I was a nobody—not even studying in St. Martins. She was in London, very young, and we met at a friend’s house. I’m from Cuomo and she is from Rome, so we did not know each other. It was like love at first sight; from that day on we were inseparable. We went through so much together. When she decided to leave the fashion business, nobody could understand her. But she was punk and had a strange face, and apart from Alexander McQueen nobody really cared for her. I supported her and told her that she was going to make it. And she has been very supportive to me when I need it. We went to Cuba together with backpacks. We have so many things in common: style, music, fashion, we like to travel. She’s a big star, but I still think of her as Maria Carla. We have our jobs and when the shoot is finished, the show is finished, we have our private lives. She’s like family to me.

OLIVIER ZAHM — And you’ve grown together.
RICCARDO TISCI — She was famous before I arrived at Givenchy. We’re very good friends and she is my muse. Before I arrived at Givenchy, it was rare that Maria Carla would do a shoot without calling me to ask what I thought about the photographer, the other model, etc. Same with me, before I do a collection I always talk with her about references, a film she has seen for example.

OLIVIER ZAHM — Since being in Milan, London and Paris, do you still consider yourself an Italian designer?
RICCARDO TISCI — A lot of Italian designers are taking over fashion. Italian designers used to be very Italian, staying in Milan, showing there, and then going to America rather than Paris. America has always been the big role model for Italy, in television, films, etc. Me, I feel that Italy is a bastard. I’m 100% proud to be Italian, but living in London has helped me a lot. Sometimes journalists say that I’m not completely Italian. People see Italian fashion as sexy and showy, with tits and ass. Think of Versace or Cavalli or Dolce and Gabanna—all in your face sexy. It’s not that I changed my style; I grew up with a different mentality. I live much with emotion —emotion is what I bring out in my work. In a way I’m pure Italian with the little influences of where I live. Before in England, and now in Paris, especially in my last collection, I’m beginning to see things with a French eye. I also want to express a French style, which is very important to me, especially in Givenchy.

OLIVIER ZAHM — How long were you in London?
RICCARDO TISCI — Seven years. It’s part of my life now because of the opportunity I was given to study there. If I were in Italy I’d probably be working in a factory. To be a young Italian designer is very difficult.

OLIVIER ZAHM — I think that you are the perfect equation because you have the sensibility of Italy naturally, in your blood. Then you have the English school, which is very disciplined, but also very open internationally. Then you have your success in Paris. For me Paris is the center of the fashion world, do you agree?
RICCARDO TISCI — Absolutely. I agree. When I used to come here to visit I was sure: fashion was here. Comme Des Garcons, Chanel, Givenchy, YSL, Dior, Haider Ackerman, Rick Owens, Martin Margiela—there are more people that I think should show here—Versace, Marc Jacobs—that would make it a perfect fashion week.

OLIVIER ZAHM — And there is stimulating competition here…
RICCARDO TISCI — That’s why I was so scared my first season. Fashion is competition day by day. The great thing about Paris is that you can find the space to express yourself. Everybody has their own story and they all do it differently. If you go to Milan, you know what to expect if you’re in the fashion business. New York too. Here, there are a lot of trends and different sources for them. That’s why I think people are so free here. I can see concerts in the suburbs and have simple meals in cultural neighborhoods.

OLIVIER ZAHM — Just a question about couture and pret-a-porter at Givenchy. Are they connected, or two separate things?
RICCARDO TISCI — They are connected because I want them to be connected. I have two very small teams, one for couture and one for pret-a-porter. When I finish each collection, I call the other team to come and look and tell me what they think about it. Of course the couture is couture, made by hand on the body. It’s extreme and does not have a price, but is not completely over done. Pret-a-porter is another thing: it’s mass made, it’s for everybody. But for both of them there is something that is related. In order for us to have an identity, it is important that people get one image of Givenchy. One is super expensive and exclusive, but the other is for every body.

OLIVIER ZAHM — Do you have designers for accessories and shoes?
RICCARDO TISCI — It’s not a very big team here. Everybody does everything. We are a little family and every body is free to say what they think. It’s not just me taking over. It’s a very classic way to design, to work.

OLIVIER ZAHM — Do you work a lot ?
RICCARDO TISCI — I am the first to arrive at the office and the last to leave.




Carla Bruni and Laetitia @ METROPOLITAN, models — Riccardo Tisci, art director — Yasmine Eslami, stylist — Shino Itoi, stylist’s assistant — Frédérique David, Xavier Arias, Ben Sollich and Olivier Saillant, photographer’s assistants — Ludovic Dhardivillé, photo retouch — Odile Gilbert @ L’ATELIER 68, hair — Stephanie Kunz @ BIRD PRODUCTION, make up

Special thanks to Eric Pfrunder, Caroline Lebar, Katherine Marre and Claus Estermann

[Table of contents]

F/W 2006 issue 6

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