Before Riccardo Tisci took over as Givenchy’s creative director in 2005, the French fashion house was often associated with old-school Parisian luxury; the clothes were elegant, high quality, but relatively safe and off the mainstream radar. And on top of that, the label’s menswear line was practically non-existent.
However, that all changed when Tisci took the reins and begun revamping the brand’s image (in addition to expanding its men’s collections) with streetwear-inspired elements, like bold graphics, religious symbolism, and a shit ton of black. His edgy yet refined aesthetic really resonated with the younger generation, and resulted in a large following among leading hip-hop figures—especially Kanye West.
In a new interview with Details magazine, Tisci talks about his relationship with ‘Ye and his family, including why he was chosen to design their wedding outfits, dressing Kim when no one else wanted to, and working on the cover art for “Watch the Throne.”
Check out highlights from the Q&A piece below. You can read the full interview at Detail’s website.
On how he forged relationships with celebrities:
Tisci: “They feel that I’m not there to dress a celebrity. I dress people even when they don’t have an Oscar nomination or they don’t have an album out. If they’re my friends, I respect them to the end. And you need to feel people stay with you because they love you, not only as an artist, but also as a human being. Look at Kanye and Kim—at the beginning, I was the only one.”
On being one of the first designers to dress Kim:
Tisci: She’s a sweet girl. And Kanye and me, we did it together. Every designer is dying to dress her now. I didn’t care what people thought about Kim. In the beginning, I met her because of my respect for Kanye, and then I liked her a lot and we became friends. I got killed because of this. But I didn’t care. That is a friend, you see. And this is why, when they got married, they asked me to dress them. They say, “You’ve always been with us. You’ve been a real friend.” If I like somebody, I like somebody. If I don’t like somebody, I don’t like somebody.”
On whether or not he had hesitation about working on “Watch the Throne”:
Tisci: “When they asked me, of course I was honored, but I was scared. I was like, “Oh fuck, what am I going to do?” I said, “Are you ready to really break down this barrier?” Because for me, rap until then was about gloss and diamonds and the chain and fur, girls in swimsuits. And they were like, ‘Yes, we’re ready.'”
On the famous leather kilt worn by Kanye:
Tisci: “For a second, he was a little bit doubting. Then he really trusted me. That’s when you understand when a friend is a friend. He knew it was not that I just wanted to sell my clothes. I didn’t care. I thought it was very punk for him to break down all these boundaries. I haven’t invented it. But it’s more serious, the way I do it. It’s darker, and it’s made with beautiful tailoring, fabric. And we sell a lot. Doesn’t matter if I put them in a show or not.”
by Perry Mayweather