88 posts tagged "Riccardo Tisci"
Earlier this week, the Spring ’14 Givenchy ad campaign debuted on Style.com, inciting a storm of clicks and commentary for its all-women-of-color cast. It turns out, Givenchy is not the only label to take that step this season. Swiss label Philipp Plein has just released its own Spring campaign, shot by Francesco Carrozzini and styled by Patti Wilson, featuring a cast of black models. As the saying goes, two’s a coincidence, but three’s a trend—time will tell if diversity on the page continues. For Plein in particular, at least, it’s more than a passing fancy: The designer cast his Spring ’14 show in Milan with exclusively black models.
Riccardo Tisci is known, among other talents, for having one of the keenest eyes in casting. So when he puts an unexpected face in his ad campaigns for Givenchy, the world takes notice. Expect tremors on this one. Presenting the new star of the label’s Mert & Marcus-shot campaigns: neo-soul singer Erykah Badu.
“Erykah, she’s an icon—come on!” Tisci said by phone from Paris. “What I want to do with my advertising campaign is spread the love. Already now it’s been three seasons that I’ve been using people that express something—they are great artists, or beautiful women, or stylish women, or models that I really believe in. It’s kind of a family portfolio.”
Tisci had known Badu slightly but had never worked with her. Still, he said, he’d had her image in the back of his mind when he was designing the Spring 2014 collection, a mash-up of African and Japanese influences. “She’s one of the most stylish women I’ve met in my life,” he said. “She’s got such a good sense of proportion, of colors.”
What may attract as much attention as the unexpected Badu cameo is the fact that all of the campaign’s female models are women of color (the models Maria Borges, newcomer Riley, and Asia Chow). It follows a season with a noticeable uptick in the use of models of color on the runway, following scathing condemnations of homogeneity in fashion from Bethann Hardison and Iman, sounding off from certain casting directors, and coverage of the issue in The New York Times.
“There was a lot of talk this season in fashion,” Tisci said. “Me, I was one of the persons who ended up not being touched by this. I discovered Joan Smalls, I discovered Maria [Borges]. I discovered a lot of black girls, and I’ve been always supporting them. For me, I grew up in a family and I grew up in a culture, an education, that we all are the same.” (He was already working on the collection, and had Badu in mind, when the first articles came out.)
It’s true that Tisci has been active in promoting women of color on his runway and in his campaigns. (Besides Smalls and Borges, he has championed Grace Mahary, Dalianah Arekion, and Daniela Braga, among others.) Does he think the world will catch up to his lead? “I hope so,” he said. “It’s 2013. Everybody’s being so cool about Instagram, about Facebook, any media—everybody’s being so open. At the end of the day, why are not so many black girls or Latin girls in shows? When you have an American president who is black! When I see this happening, it’s quite sad, I think. People can be so avant-garde, so advanced, but actually not, because people are still making differences between skin color.”
Although you’ve definitely seen her influence, you may not have heard of Katy England. She isn’t one for the street-style paps or the blogosphere—probably because she’s too busy styling the collections of such talents as Riccardo Tisci, Tom Ford, and Marios Schwab to stop and strike a pose. During her twenty-year-and-counting career, England has built close relationships with Dazed & Confused and AnOther magazines (she previously held the role of fashion director at the latter), and served as the creative director of Alexander McQueen’s studio from the mid-nineties to the mid-naughties. If you’re still not impressed, we should tell you that she’s styled covers and spreads with photographers such as Rankin, Nick Knight, and Willy Vanderperre, and currently works with one Kate Moss on her much-talked-about Topshop range.
England has just released Made in England, a short film, created in collaboration with Vauxhall, that focuses on the many facets of contemporary British youth culture. Here, the stylist talks to Style.com about her directorial debut, McQueen, and why fashion is for the young.
Your film is all about British youth culture, which has historically played a huge role in British fashion. Do you think that youth culture now is equally as influential as it was during the punk or New Romantic/club kid eras?
I don’t feel there’s the same energy. It’s just so different, but I’m not young anymore. Teenagers today think they’re doing the most exciting things, just like we did at our age. It’s all relative. But I think designers—all of us—get inspired by young people and what they’re doing. I certainly do. Real fashion, high fashion, is from the kids and for the kids. We can all look stylish, and we can all dress really well and be on trend, but real fashion, as I would call it, is for the young. I work with Riccardo Tisci on his menswear collections; he is so inspired by what young kids are doing worldwide. And I’m sure Marc Jacobs does as well. I think there’s a certain bunch of them that are really young at heart.
What do you think of the increasing focus being placed on London’s young talents?
I used to work for Alexander McQueen, and when he took his position at Givenchy many, many years ago, it was the beginning of designers being approached by big houses. We were just kids—new kids on the block at the house of Givenchy—and we didn’t know what to do, and we didn’t get much support. I think now it’s become much more familiar—it happens all the time. And it’s great, but [the young designers] all need to have support around them, whether it’s great stylists, great people helping them research, great technicians…. I think these jobs are huge, and they’re a lot of pressure for the kids. If they’re supported, they’ll be fine, because they have a huge amount of energy, but it’s so tough. I did it with Alexander McQueen, unsupported. And it was harsh—really harsh.
Do you think it’s a positive thing that big houses are tapping young talents, and that these important companies are investing in new designers?
Sometimes I think it’s too much too soon, and I think there’s a huge value in learning in a smaller way. I work with Marios Schwab, who has a very small company in London. He’s been doing it a long time, and he’s such a talent. Bit by bit, he keeps going, and I hope that it will happen for him in the end. And when it does, my god will he be set up and ready for it, because he’s learned his craft. You have to learn your craft. You can’t just catapult. You’re going to be better for it if you learn the hard way.
Would you prefer to have youth or wisdom?
I’d love the energy of youth. I love being around people with that energy. I really feed off of that. But it’s tough for kids now. When I started in the fashion industry, it was so openly creative and you were not restricted in any way. Kids don’t have that opportunity so much anymore, because fashion is much more of a business now. Even with photo shoots, the clients are so much more powerful, because of digital photography—they can watch the shoot taking place. That was never the case before, and they had to put trust in a team of creatives to book the right people and get on with it. It was literally so free, and you would hope that you captured it, and you’d be so excited to see the film in the end. The creative process is very spontaneous, and it needs to be spontaneous. I think that we’ve lost a lot of that spontaneity. Continue Reading “Katy England Would Rather Just Get on With It” »