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Riccardo Tisci Exits Givenchy
Is He Heading To Versace?

Image from Riccardo Tisci's Nike collaboration

In what is sure to be intriguing to fashion watchers and deeply annoying to luxury retailers, Givenchy's star designer Riccardo Tisci has chosen not to renew his contract with the storied Parisian label. While there have been rumors swirling as there often are  when it comes to a major designer's contract renewal negotiations, it is unusual for a designer who had become so comfortably ensconced, as Tisci had been, to voluntarily moved on, but that is exactly what has reportedly happened. Givenchy parent LVMH was reportedly happy to have Tisci continue on, and there was apparently no major conflicts between the designer and his corporate overlords. In fact, Tisci had succeeded to do what the rather illustrious group of designers who succeeded house namesake Hubert de Givenchy failed to accomplish: create a new fashion image for the brand that had the global appeal to vault it into the top tier of international luxury brands.

With Tisci's departure confirmed, rumors of his future moves are amplified with the top option being a move to Versace. Tisci is known to be a fan of the late Gianni Versace, and is close enough with Donatella Versace to have her as a guest model in a recent Givenchy advertising campaign. With Versace on increasingly stronger financial footing a designer with a following like Tisci's could give it a further boost as it prepares for an eventual IPO which has been repeatedly postponed. What is unusual, however, is that when Versace has supported young designers like Christopher Kane and Anthony Vaccarello, it has been under more of a mentoring-type structure which generally turned over the "younger" label Versus to an emerging talent. Were Tisci to join Versace, it's hard to imagine him being tapped as anything less than the chief creative director, a role occupied for the past nearly 20 years by Donatella Versace who stepped in after the 1997 murder of her brother, founding designer Gianni Versace. Presumably, Tisci's arrival would mean that Donatella would be stepping down from her role at the company that bears her family's name. There hasn't been much indication that she is looking to retire, but that doesn't mean that she is not aware of the value of having Tisci take over.

Of course, Tisci is currently quite accomplished enough not to have to hunt for a new employer. His success at Givenchy has been such that he may be in a position to revive the short-lived eponymous label he had launched just before he was hired by the brand. He has had enough of his own name recognition to produce two seasons of a sneaker and apparel collaboration with Nike under his own name. Whatever his choice is, we probably won't know for sure for several months at least. As his contract ended on January 31, he is presumably still under a standard non-compete agreement for at least a year if not longer, which will allow plenty of time for new rumors to present themselves.



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