– Eric Zimmermann
When Riccardo Tisci departed Givenchy in 2016, it was amidst heavy rumors that he would be taking over the Versace brand from Donatella Versace. Then nothing happened. When Burberry’s Chief Creative Officer, Christopher Bailey, announced that he would be leaving the brand this year, as always, there was heavy speculation on who would take over such a massive, global, luxury fashion house. Names like Phoebe Philo and Kim Jones floated around, but no one would have guessed Riccardo Tisci, until the brand made the announcement earlier today.
Riccardo Tisci started designing at Givenchy in 2005, after being hired by Marco Gobetti to replace Julian McDonald. Incidentally, Gobetti is Burberry’s Chief Executive, since July 2017. Under Tisci’s creative direction, Givenchy ballooned into a desirable global brand which sat comfortably at the center of youth and cool culture. Celebrities like the Kardashians, Jessica Chastain, and Madonna were photographed constantly while wearing the brand. His connection to Kanye West helped the brand cross over into mainstream consciousness via music and the media. Tisci famously started using the #gang hashtag on social media, when posting images of the bevvy of models and famous friends who constantly surrounded him, like supermodels Joan Smalls and Naomi Campbell, the artist Marina Abromovic, and photography duo Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott.
Burberry’s former Chief Executive, Angela Ahrendts and Christopher Bailey helped to catapult the once dormant British brand known mainly for its checks and trench coats, to a global luxury power player, experiencing rapid growth and evoking desirability in consumers. The brand also pushed the boundaries with digital at a time when luxury brands shied away from social media and other forms of digital media. Their Art of the Trench platform culled images from social media of people wearing the brand’s trench coats all over the world, serving as a style inspiration platform. Burberry was also one of the first brands to experiment with showing collections in-season, pioneering “see now, buy now.”
Riccardo Tisci brings with him to London a loyal base of big name models and celebrities, who otherwise would skip London Fashion Week for Milan and Paris. The move will no doubt attract more buyers and press to British capital, which will also benefit smaller labels. With his keen sense for design and creating desirable products, it will be interesting to see the direction he takes to build upon the story of the heritaged house.