Riccardo Tisci, creative director of Givenchy, is not known for subtlety. In June 2015, the Italian designer accepted the CFDA’s invitation to move his legendary Paris runway show to New York Fashion Week. He fills his Haute Couture collections with street-inspired bravado and his ready-to-wear with couture details. He mixes gangsta swagger with religious reverence. In a word, he commands respect. What other fashion designers would dare pair face jewelry (yes, it’s a thing) with Victorian widow’s weeds and make them wearable, or turn Kim Kardashian West into a high fashion muse? But Tisci’s penchant for shaking things up extends beyond the runway. He also makes decisions that put Givenchy at the center of conversations about gender, politics and entitlement, decisions that leave indelible marks on the industry. Not everyone loves his collections, but everyone agrees: Tisci is changing the game. On the heels of the opening of his first American store, which he designed, of course, we’ve rounded up his most major moments:
1. Tisci announced that on September 11, Givenchy’s Spring 2016 collection would be shown to the general public in a runway show held on a New York City street–a fitting tribute to the home of his newest self-designed store (below). 820 tickets will be given away on a first-come, first-served basis; 100 will go to residents of the still-undisclosed street and 180 will be given to fashion students and faculty. NYFW shows are always exclusive despite overtures by the industry that American fashion is for everyone. Designers will surely feel the pressure now to open their doors as well.
2. He booked fellow designer—and 60-something and luxury fashion brand competitor—Donatella Versace as the face of Givenchy’s Fall 2015 campaign. Of course, the platinum blonde signora looked ravishing in wasp-waisted jackets and sky-high leather heels, as seen below on a poster in the new NYC flagship, but the very idea of booking her seemed revolutionary at the time. After all, she’s the face of Versace! Still, it worked.
3. He doesn’t have just any old muse. The transsexual Lea T (below, wearing Givenchy Haute Couture Fall 2014) worked as an assistant at his studio when he made her the face of his Fall 2010 campaign, an airy and romantic collection that fused lace and feathers with androgynous silhouettes. She was later hailed by The New York Times as a vanguard in the advancement of transsexual visibility.
4. Most fashion designers love to collaborate, but no else blurs the lines of high fashion and art and music like Tisci. He collaborated with artist Marina Abramovic (below, right) on her exhibit “The Artist Is Present” in 2010. In 2011, he designed the cover art for Jay Z and Kanye West’s album Watch the Throne, and before that, H.A.M. and, that same year, guest-edited an issue of Visionaire titled “RELIGION.”
5. He injects his personality—and personal life—into everything he does for Givenchy. Tisci’s friends are his muses (see Mariacarla Boscono, Kim Kardashian West and Madonna, below), and their influences weave throughout collections like narratives of Tisci’s life. Perhaps he’s just like us, chronicling his most personal convictions through a constant stream of data (Instagram, Snapchat, Haute Couture). No other fashion designer is so forthcoming. No other designer is like Tisci.