Riccardo Tisci: The Italian Designer Changing French Fashion

Italy has always been synonymous with style, and there’s one Italian designer in particular whose influence has been felt across the globe in the last decade - Riccardo Tisci. A designer famous for creating sensual, romantic and gothic couture, the prolific Tisci has been bringing his Italian flair to the world of fashion for over fifteen years, and in that time has singlehandedly revitalised one of France’s most iconic fashion houses, as well as winning fans in some of pop culture’s biggest names.

A Unique Style

Riccardo Tisci was born in Taranto, Southern Italy, where he was raised by his mother alongside his eight sisters. He has previously stated that his family life had a huge influence on his work and design aesthetic, and it inspired him to follow his passion for art and design from an early age. In fact, he ended up leaving regular school at 11 to attend Instituto D'Arte Applicata in Cantu before moving to London to study fashion design at the famous Central St Martins.

Upon returning to his home country in 1999 Tisci re-charged his imagination and began work for Italian brands such as Antonio Berardi, Coccapani, Ruffo Research and Puma, before starting his own eponymous label in 2004. He quickly gained praise after showing his first collection in Milan for the autumn/winter 2005-06 season, where he showcased his bold and powerfully feminine designs, full of romanticism.

Revitalising Givenchy

Riccardo Tisci really began to make his name in February of 2005 when he was made creative director at the famous French haute couture fashion house Givenchy - a position previously held by iconic designers including John Galliano and Alexander McQueen. Editors and consumers alike declared their appreciation for the designer’s vision and the brand’s new direction, which encompassed a more romantic, gothic and sometimes melancholic aesthetic.

In only two years, Tisci had completely revitalised the house's couture business, making this classic Parisian brand serious creative contenders once more. Since his appointment he has boosted the companies couture sales by approximately 400%, with his designs opening up the doors of Givenchy to a younger and more progressive audience and marking Riccardo Tisci as a pop culture icon.

Designing Pop Culture 

Tisci’s gothic touches and references to space-age minimalism have won him many celebrity fans, whilst his cult sweatshirts and t-shirts have attracted a pop culture savvy clientele. 

In August 2011 Tisci produced the album artwork for Watch The Throne, a collaborative album between Kanye West and Jay Z's, two of modern hip-hop’s biggest names. The influential Kanye has been a longtime supporter of Tisci, as has Madonna, who commissioned the designer to create the outfits for her 2012 Super Bowl performance, which included an all over hand-embroidered gold cape, a black mini dress worn with a hand-studded belt and an embellished black coat.