answers by Riccardo Tisci to questions by Donatella Versace—two hard-core Italians—in the latest Interview…
Versace: Let’s talk about your last collection, which I found to be very beautiful—super sexy. I would wear all of it.
Tisci: Brava! In fact, as I’ve been saying, it is very Donatella, because it is about a very strong woman…I grew up with eight sisters and my mom. Nine incredible women all a little “à la Donatella Versace.” Real strong women from the South of Italy, women who had sensuality.
Versace: I can see in your clothing that you know the body of a woman. You know how to valorize it. End of story.
Tisci: Imagine all these sisters. Eight women of all different shapes and lifestyles. So my path was pretty peculiar. Even at the beginning when I arrived at Givenchy, there were certainly people who supported me, but not everyone loved me. They were saying, “Why an Italian who acts Gothic?” Never mind the fact that Italy is one of the main exhibitors of Gothic art in the world.
Versace: When I worked with Gianni at the end of his life, I was the person with whom he would confide and say anything. If there was something I didn’t like, I would be honest and say, “No, no, no! Do something different.” Do you have anyone like this on your team?
Tisci: Absolutely. It’s super-essential. Even though I don’t have a very big team, for me, the word muse may be démodé or not. I adore it, but I am also one, in my delirium, to be quite classical. For a designer—especially a male designer—he absolutely has to have that female voice by his side, which he listens to, he filters, he digests. It’s a huge need, because when you see through the eyes of a man, you see a woman a certain way, and how they have little tricks of their own.
Versace: Americans really love you, but I find that you are not a designer who has an American sensibility. You are much more European, much more Italian.
Tisci: I am super-Italian, not even European—Italian…[But] I am very attracted to the United States. Why? Well, as a little kid from Southern Italy, not from a wealthy family, it was always my dream to go to the Big Apple. You know I’m not one to listen to classical music. I am very much for what is American, but I also prefer the America of the ghetto. I love the Bronx. I love hip-hop and R&B. I love electro-Latino, Latin music, that whole realm.
Versace: Now I must ask you, do you have new ideas for Givenchy, or something new for Riccardo Tisci? I think you know what I mean. [laughs]
Tisci: Yes, I know what you mean. You mean what happened at Dior. I don’t know what will happen. Sincerely, I feel sorry for John. But for this moment I am leaving aside all the gossip of “I am going here, I am going there,” because there is a lot of gossip circulating and there always will be. I will tell you, in this moment, I am very happy at Givenchy…It would be very difficult for me to leave.