Photography Mert and Marcus. The Lovers of Life Issue, no. 305, Pre-Spring 2010

33 things you need to know about burberry’s new creative riccardo tisci

In the aftermath of the Tisci announcement, Burberry's shares suddenly rose by almost 4%.

by James Anderson
09 March 2018, 11:38am

Photography Mert and Marcus. The Lovers of Life Issue, no. 305, Pre-Spring 2010

In early March of this year, much excitement from fashion commentators greeted the news that 43-year-old former Givenchy Creative Director Riccardo Tisci will become Burberry's new Chief Creative Officer. This followed the departure of Christopher Bailey who has been Mister Burbs-Controller for the past 17 years.

Tisci is clearly chuffed to bits about his new job: “I have an enormous respect for Burberry’s British heritage and global appeal and I am excited about the potential of this exceptional brand,” he enthused, while no doubt hastily packing his bags in readiness for his move to London.

Some critics have since got their Burberry trench coats in right ol' flap, sniping that the position should have gone to either Kim Jones or Phoebe Philo. Others, by contrast, have approvingly noted how majorly successful Tisci was at dragging Givenchy into the 21st century and sense that he will similarly enliven the aesthetic and boost the fortunes of the much-loved British heritage brand. The latter was further confirmed when, in the aftermath of the Tisci announcement, Burberry's shares suddenly rose by almost 4%.

But that's all boring business-related stuff, isn't it? What you probably want to know is who is Riccardo Tisci and what's he all about? i-D now curates all the essential Tisci titbits to turn you into an instant expert...

1. Riccardo Tisci was born on 1 August, 1974, in Taranto, Italy, growing up in a Catholic household in the city of Como, which is famed for its dramatic-looking Gothic Cathedral and, erm, a waterfront promenade and funicular railway.

2. Riccardo Tisci's dad died when he was a child and his mum, who he adores, brought the family up on her own.

3. Riccardo Tisci has eight sisters and when he was a kid he used to love watching them getting glammed up for a night out while they giggled and gossiped about boys.

4. Riccardo Tisci has recalled that although the family were poor and times were often really tough, their home was a happy one and they had a lorra, lorra laffs.

5. Riccardo Tisci was a full-on teenage Goth -- he grew his hair long, wore lots of black and daubed his face with spooky white makeup, all of which made him stand out in his local community -- but his loyal mum used to defend him against any neggy comments from the locals.

6. Riccardo Tisci flew the family nest at the tender age of 17 and moved to London in the late 1990s to study fashion at Central Saint Martins, with the aid of a scholarship.

7. Riccardo Tisci graduated from CSM in 1999 with a memorable, Fellini-inspired collection titled 8.30, The Procession, then worked for designers and brands including Antonio Berardi, Puma and Ruffo Research before launching his own label in 2004.

8. Riccardo Tisci became the Creative Director of Givenchy in 2005, when he was just 30 years old, and by 2008 was overseeing not only the women's couture and ready to wear lines but also menswear and accessories.

9. Riccardo Tisci had been happy enough working on his own line, but -- as he revealed years later to Interview magazine -- his main motivation for taking the Givenchy gig was so he could help his mum who was so skint she was about to sell the family home: “When they told me how much they would pay me, I saw that my sisters and my mum could have a better life.”

10. Riccardo Tisci combined multicultural street and sportswear influences with gothic, fetish, religious and futuristic themes during his time at Givenchy -- across both the women's and men's lines -- in ways which have since become the luxe-fashion norm, but at first loads of precious couture-loving luvvies were a bit WTF? about it all.

11. Riccardo Tisci featured the likes of Erykah Badu, Julia Roberts, transgender model Lea T (an old friend and long-time assistant of his) and Donatella Versace in various advertising campaigns during his time at Givenchy.

12. Riccardo Tisci designed Kim Kardashian’s wedding dress for her marriage to Kanye West in 2014 and he considers her and Kanye to be good mates of his.

13. Riccardo Tisci designed Beyoncé’s flesh coloured and pearl encrusted full length latex gown which she bravely wore/probably sweated loads in at the 2016 Met Gala.

14. Riccardo Tisci also designed costumes for Madonna's Sweet and Sticky tour of 2008-9, as well as the outfit she sported for her giddy 2012 Super Bowl performance with M.I.A and Nicki Minaj.

15. Riccardo is a self confessed 'big boy' who stands at a towering 6’3” tall.

16. Riccardo Tisci is really good at basketball, no doubt helped in the hoop stakes by his height.

17. Riccardo Tisci has long-enjoyed people-watching, as he confirmed to i-D in 2014: “When I was a kid I loved to be seated outside my Grandmother's house in South Italy and watch people walking by. It was a game I loved -- I loved to observe people.”

18. Riccardo Tisci designed stagewear for his bezzy Rihanna's 2013 world tour and has publicly hailed the the pop star as “the face of her generation”.

19. Riccardo Tisci was first introduced to Instagram by Rihanna, who showed him a photo of herself wearing one of the aforementioned tour costumes, which she had posted on her account as a way of saying ta-very-much to him.

20. Riccardo is not that much of a party animal and likes to go to bed early, then rise early the next morning -- because he's a hard grafter and those collections aren't going to design themselves, are they?

21. Riccardo Tisci has always been obsessed with Minotaurs and mermaids, because they are trapped in an animal body and, at certain times in the past, he too has apparently felt trapped in his own life... oh dear!

22. Riccardo Tisci has some strong opinions about beauty, which he revealed to i-D in 2013: “I am not into empty beauty. Somebody could be amazing and beautiful or not so amazing and not so beautiful -- but if they are natural, or shy, or tough, or moody... I love all these things! But when somebody's beauty becomes stupidity, because they are too full of themselves, I don't like that!”

23. Riccardo Tisci reckoned it was the “best present of my life”, when Kanye West performed live at his 40th birthday bash, in Ibiza, in 2014.

24. Riccardo Tisci always wears Nike Air Force 1's and has done for past two decades -- a proper sneakerhead, his wardrobe is bulging with 200-or-so pairs.

25. Riccardo Tisci has further explored his love of trainers by teaming up with Nike for NikeLab x RT, a long-running collaboration of footwear and apparel, explaining: “There’s always been sportswear in my style, and I believe the mix of sport, street and elegance is really good.”

26. Riccardo Tisci loves the colour black, like a true ex-goth, and told Stylist mag: “Black is always elegant. It is the most complete colour in the whole world, made of all the colours in the palette.”

27. Riccardo Tisci might be rich and famous, with loads of celeb pals, but he doesn't forget his humble roots and at heart he is still Riccy-from-the-block, telling The Guardian: “I am a street soul. The street is in my blood.”

28. Riccardo Tisci designed the cover artwork for Kanye and Jay-Z's 2011 Watch the Throne album, though, as he told MTV, he was initially unsure about the project: “When they first asked me, I was really scared. And then, we began the discussions about movies, DJs, general things. So, I felt that the collaboration was necessary.”

29. Riccardo Tisci could get a job working at a magazine in the unlikely event of his design career ever stalling -- he's proven his publishing credentials in the past, by guest editing issues of Visionaire and A Magazine.

30. Riccardo Tisci hasn't forgotten his Catholic upbringing and is known to say a little prayer prior to his runway shows.

31. Riccardo Tisci prefers dogs to cats which might explain his penchant for using images of rottweilers on those best-selling tees and sweatshirts while at Givenchy.

32. Riccardo Tisci will be debuting his first Burberry collection in September 2018 and we are assured by the brand's CEO Marco Gobbetti of a mix of luxury and surprises.

33. Riccardo Tisci is bound to bring change and drama to Burberry -- after all, this is the designer who once told WWD magazine: “I was born a daring designer and I’m going to die as a daring designer. That is me!”