PARIS — As widely expected, LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton said Monday it has tapped the relatively unknown Riccardo Tisci as Givenchy’s fifth designer in 10 years.
This confirms a report in WWD last month tipping the 30-year-old Italian as the leading candidate.
Marco Gobbetti, chief executive officer of Givenchy, said Tisci signed a three-year contract and would move to Paris to begin work immediately on a winter couture collection and pre-spring ready-to-wear. It has not yet been decided if Givenchy, which has sat on fashion’s sidelines since the exit of Julien Macdonald in April, will be back on the couture runway in July.
After showing his latest signature collection in Milan last Friday to positive reviews, Tisci will shut down that label to focus on Givenchy, Gobbetti said.
Monday’s announcement ends one of the longest designer searches in recent memory, with candidates said to range from Richard Chai and Zac Posen in New York to Giles Deacon and Roland Mouret in London. Alber Elbaz, who renewed his contract at Lanvin last August, resisted aggressive courting by LVMH.
But on Monday, Gobbetti insisted there were scores of willing and capable candidates and that Tisci outshone them all.
“He is a perfect fit for us. He has an elegance that is very modern, very contemporary and romantic at the same time,” he said. “A lot of people say, ‘He is very young,’ but I think he’s ready for it.”
After years working for other designers and firms — including Antonio Berardi, Stefano Guerriero, Missoni and Ratti — Tisci signed a three-year contract to do the Ruffo Research collection, which had been a platform for the likes of Sophia Kokosalaki, Veronique Branquinho and Raf Simons.
When the plug was pulled on that line in July, he scrabbled together a collection in October and tapped his model friends to do his show for free. They obliged again last week in Milan, wandering around an incense-choked warehouse in dresses and coats with funereal airs.
Tisci succeeds a string of designers who have, to varying degrees, encountered some bumps on the road to brand rejuvenation following the 1995 retirement of founder Hubert de Givenchy.
After a brief stint by John Galliano, who moved on to Christian Dior, Alexander McQueen tried his hand. But his eclectic collections — space aliens one season, rockabilly the next — failed to galvanize the house. Macdonald went back to a style rooted in French elegance and sophistication, but did not win much acclaim.
More recently, the spotlight at Givenchy has shone on men’s wear, where the artistic director is Ozwald Boateng.