ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED AT L’OFFICIEL HOMMES BRASIL.
Among the professionals that dominate the circuit Paris-Milan-New York, Riccardo Tisci has established a new standard: the celebrity-designer. After ten years in the forefront of Givenchy, Riccardo managed to transform his lifestyle and friendships in a personal brand, pressuring designers to share a bit more of their lives, their creative processes and, moreover, to have a lifestyle as desirable as his own. Besides delivering eight fashion shows a year for Givenchy, Riccardo still finds time to develop Kanye West’s tuxedo for his wedding and Kim Kardashian’s dress, Madonna’s look for the Met Ball and still throw a memorable 40 years-old birthday bash in Ibiza last August, reuniting the most influential celebrities on earth.
He does not travel without an entourage of at least 10 people, including top models, such as Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell, not to mention the numerous celebrities, artists and photographers. His friends became famous as the #gang, one of the most copied Instagram hashtags, the social network that showed to the entire world a glance of his life on the top of the world.
After presenting a collection for the first time in New York, in September of 2015, at an event for 1,200 people, Givenchy’s creative director talked to L’Officiel Hommes and revealed his secret for being the superman that he is.
Let’s begin with your latest adventure: the Womenswear Spring/Summer collection in New York. What did you have in mind when planning something so outrageous?
I chose New York because when it concerns business and communication, that city in the center of the world. And also the American market has supported me since the beginning. I am obsessed with America and the show was an old dream come true. Harlem for me represents New York and its mix of cultures. North America is North America and I love North America but, in New York, there is this potpourri of many cultures, so many people and different ways of thinking. And in Harlem, this mixture is clear – each person has a strong sense of individuality and style, a honest sense of fashion. To arrive in New York and do a fashion show has been a dream since I was a kid. Therefore, I did not just want to arrive and remain silent. I wanted to celebrate properly.
You were one of the first designers to bring an authentic street style and the ghetto culture to Paris’ catwalks, and now you are taking New York’s streets. How would you describe your style and how do you project it moving forward?
I have always brought the urban style and the street to haute couture and vice versa. For me, it is something that comes naturally in my style. It all starts in the streets. People’s energy, the way they dress. When you come from poverty and you starve and you suffer, creativity comes out strongly. Because you really appreciate every little thing. You prioritize colors, materials, the messages and everything people do. Specially some important people in history, such as Frida Kahlo, Madonna, people that have been a strong reference to the society and to the culture in any country, all of them come from the poverty and the streets. The street is what make them honest. It is in the streets that everything starts and ends. For me this is the most important.
Let’s talk about mennswear. The aggressiveness you used in your first collections at Givenchy seemed to express how people were feeling back then. Recently, you are more into religion and spirituality. What has changed within you and in your client’s lifestyle?
I love doing men’s fashion because I think there is so much to explore, many taboos to break. This is why my collections to Givenchy are all successful. I deliver to my clients something that they love and cannot find elsewhere. Creating for men and women is basically the same. When I started menswear, I wanted to bring what I was already doing in the women’s collection. I have created a style of a woman that is confident about her sexuality, her personality and her body, however not in the sense of having the perfect body, but in the sense of being aware of her own sensuality and her femininity. She can also play with the man’s wardrobe. And my man is so confident of his own sexuality, his masculinity that he can as well play with a woman’s wardrobe.
The Brazilian favelas inspired your Favelas 74 collection. What did you see in the favela’s style that have attracted your attention?
Life is my big inspiration. I am one of the designers who is not afraid of going to a rave party, even if I am recognized. I am not afraid of facing dangerous sites, like the favelas in Brazil. The men from the favelas are more natural and confident about their own sexuality. They are not afraid of mixing and matching the pieces. They represent sexuality, elegance and the streets (what I recognize as elegance). I love the fact that they play with opposite things, like flower prints, that represent peace and serenity and camouflage, for example, that represents the army. Everything is interpreted in a colorful, positive way.
Brazil seems to be a constant theme in your calendar. How do you perceive the Brazilian’s style?
I love Latin-Americans. They are a big inspiration to my life because the strongest men and women in history are all Latin-Americans. Being Italian, I am part of the Latin world. I feel very attracted by your effortless elegance and savoir-faire. I adore the fact that sexuality can mix with religion and everyone just enjoys life.
What do you like the most in Brazil?
Brazil is amazing. I love Brazilians because they are always smiling. I love the fact that the Brazilian history is a mixture of ethnical groups and I also love that the freedom of the Brazilians has a relation with energy and religion.
Instagram seems to be a tool you use a lot. How do you handle overexposure? Do you have fun with it?
I am not a computer person, I am actually really bad with technology. People used to tell me “you should create an Instagram account, a Twiter…”, but I did not want to. When I finally created an Instagram account, it was for sharing emotions, not to sell products. I wanted to give emotion to the people that wanted to board on a trip with Riccardo Tisci.
You have started many online trends, such as the hashtags #love and #gang. Did you know that this would connect you with over a million people?
I see the young generation using Instagram and Facebook the wrong way. They are smart tools, but you have to use them in the right way. People overpost, they believe it is just a way to make them famous. People recognize who I am, what I want to reach in life and what I want to do as a designer. I think all of this is like a party to me. That is why all the images that I post are about celebration, donating emotion to the people that enjoy my journey and want to share it with me.
Your hashtag #gang became one of your trademarks. How do you maintain the many friendships you have all around the world?
I have a big family, so I believe in family. Some call it a team, others prefer to call it a gang. I belong to love, to the family; I am part of the gang. We all live for love; love is the only thing that does not have a prize, or a religion. It is what places everyone on the same level and that is the whole point.