Fashion, as anyone knowing a little bit about anything understands, is a cutthroat industry. If you lack tough skin or a vertebrae made of adamantium, you might need to be in another profession.
One of the toughest and most critical individuals in the game is Riccardo Tisci. The Creative Director of Givenchy, having an unshakable skill set, invited Donatella Versace to appear in his fall campaign. The unprecedented move — akin to Adidas inviting Nike to cameo in one of its commercials — finds one major fashion company modeling for a rival house.
The partnership, which was first announced back in April, found the two powerhouses unlikely pairing up to break the rules. The pair recently took time to talk about the unexpected venture to WWD.
“Riccardo Tisci is extremely talented and above all my dear friend,” Versace said. “We are family. I want to get rid of the old system, work together, support each other and make fashion a true global community.” As those within the high-end fashion industry embrace pop culture in a new way, Versace’s attempt marks something different than its competitors like Moschino, Marc Jacobs or Chanel.
Donatella is a successful leader within the industry, rather than outside of it like Katy Perry, Cher, or Pharrell Williams. This brand alliance unifies the fashion giants in a pretty bold and refreshing way. Will this be the turning point that others inside the genre learn from and adopt? Only time will tell. “I don’t think anybody ever used another designer in an advertising campaign, and I think it’s a beautiful message,” Tisci said in an exclusive chat with WWD. “There’s no jealousy and no competition between us. It’s a real, pure friendship.”
The ads, which are scheduled to open in a range of September magazines, were shot by Mert Alas and Marcus Piggot in black-and-white. Showing off Versace, her blonde hair tousled, in a cinch-waist Givenchy tailcoat hints at how these two fashion titans are trying to get rid of the old, dubious system within the industry.
“It was very me, this choice,” he said, stating that the LVMH brass immediately understood what his directive meant. “OK — her surname is a label, of course, but Donatella is a human being, she is a person. She’s got a heart, she’s got a life.” This all-in-the-family narrative has been one that Tisci has been unveiling over the past few years to varying degrees of success. He even relinquished some of his control to Donatella to let her pick what she felt would work for the occasion. “You see in the pictures that she feels part of the project. We were laughing like crazy, she was so funny. She knows how to enjoy and to make a joke,” Riccardo said.
With future projects with the House of Versace in mind, Tisci continues to create with Gianni, the late founder of Versace, in mind. “For me, Donatella has become an icon. Not only in Italy, which is my country and her country, but around the world. I mean, people make songs about her, people make movies about her because she’s a very unique person,” Riccardo Tisci said. As the duo continue to develop a healthy relationship, Tisci’s other designer friends, Hedi Slimane and Karl Lagerfeld, are just a few whom have given positive feedback.
“Fashion is moving so fast and you have to move in different ways,” Tisci said. “You never know… one day.”
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