riccardo tisci talks to i-D about his latest nike AF1 collaboration

To celebrate the final instalment of the Riccardo Tisci x Nike collaboration, i-D flew to Madrid to watch the basketball World Cup final and meet Riccardo himself, who, it turns out, is a bit of a fanatic. First they dropped in white, then black, but...

by Ger Tierney
19 September 2014, 5:25pm

Endearingly modest, it's clear the Givenchy designer sees working with Nike on his Air Force 1 range as a huge honour. "I've been approached many times by different brands, but I never thought Nike would contact me," he explains when asked how the collaboration came about. "I felt that I could only say yes to them, as this was the right fit for me. When they called me I was very pleased, because I wear Nike, it's such a respected name in street culture, in pop culture, in everything! The thing that I'm most proud of is that I am the first to do this. They have never done [a collaboration like this] with another designer, which is something amazing as the respect works both ways." 

I'm recognised in couture, because I brought sportswear into couture and couture into sportswear. Sportswear has always been in my vocabulary and I've started to do sport again in the last few years. I love the movement of sport as it brings people together," he adds.

Riccardo lives, sleeps and breathes a project once he's started it and you can see that passion in everything he creates, "I only do things for love... Everything has to be so intense, that's my way to work and the way I live." His collaboration with Nike is no exception. Going to the roots of the brand and respecting the Air Force 1's core design, Riccardo manages to keep Nike's essence whilst bringing a whole new product to Nike fans and his personal audience alike, "For me it was very important not to change [the core design] not to disturb it, not to ruin the essence of the shoes. So I left the shoes the way they were and I just changed the perforation, the texture, tiny things, and then I brought my statement into it which is why it was a success. The people at Nike love it, people obsessed with Nike love it and people obsessed with my style - who don't wear Nike - they got it too, so you get a combination of two different worlds that for me was amazing."

So why the white, black and beige colourways? "I wanted to talk to the young generation. Today's society is divided into gangs and groups," Riccardo explains. "You have a group of people who like certain music, certain food and a certain way to live. You have another who are completely different. So I have grouped the collection in three; white, black and beige. White is a little bit more glamour. Black is more dark, more rock. Beige is more organic, more new wave, more dreamy." We can't decide which gang we want to belong to... Can we just have them all?!

Seeing the final product was a hugely proud moment for the designer. "I got emotional actually when I was in LA and the Nike team all came to do the last fitting. I saw "Nike RT" for the first time printed on the shoes and I had a moment of being very emotional. They say when you are a successful person you don't feel emotion anymore. It's not true because that for me was a real moment, it brought me back to my childhood and to where I'm from."

At the after party, Ciara proudly wore her Nike + RT T-shirt and a bevy of beautiful boys and girls surrounded him wherever he went, even the World Cup champions - Team USA - joined the festivities, partying until the sun rose in Madrid. It was clear Riccardo relished in it, a sociable, loving character that counts his close friends as his family. You just need to take a look at his Instagram for proof. It was everything that you would expect a party with Riccardo Tisci to be and a perfect way to celebrate such a successful design collaboration.



Text Ger Tierney

fashion interviews
Riccardo Tisci
ger tierney