According to sources, the Italian fashion house is zeroing in on a signature with Tisci, even as the company reiterated that it does not comment on rumors.
A search is on for Riccardo Tisci's successor at Givenchy, and the brand won't show during Paris Fashion Week.
Sources described the parting as amicable and by mutual agreement. The separation was effective Jan. 31 following the expiration of his latest employment agreement.
Givenchy’s ateliers are also working on some of Tisci’s final designs as sources told WWD that he has lined up stars to wear custom couture outfits at the Grammy Awards on Feb. 12 and the Academy Awards on Feb. 26.
Givenchy did not provide any timelines for naming a successor and declined all comment on potential candidates.
Tisci’s exit is the latest tremor as creative upheaval spreads through the top ranks of international fashion. Over the past year, Christian Dior, Yves Saint Laurent, Valentino, Marni, Lanvin, Chloé, Jil Sander, Ermenegildo Zegna, Roberto Cavalli, Oscar de la Renta, Salvatore Ferragamo and Carven have all made changes in creative leadership.
In a statement, Bernard Arnault, chairman and chief executive officer of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, Givenchy’s parent, lauded Tisci’s accomplishments.
A bundle of creative energy forever shod in Nike sneakers, Tisci was a daring, uncharacteristic hire for LVMH, which has a track record of casting media stars to helm its fashion brands, which also include Fendi, Céline, Kenzo, Loewe and Pucci.
Tisci succeeded a string of designers who, 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 Dior, Alexander McQueen tried his hand. But his eclectic collections — space aliens one season, rockabilly the next — failed to galvanize the house. Next up was Julien Macdonald, who went back to a style rooted in French elegance and sophistication but did not win much acclaim.
He took on design duties for men’s wear three years later, and helped ignite the streetwear trend with his T-shirts printed with snarling Rottweilers or big stars, among his fetish motifs.
He had recently expressed a desire to extend Givenchy’s reach as a lifestyle brand, having introduced a range of clothes for babies and children that is slated for July delivery.
According to market sources, Givenchy increased more than sixfold in size during the Tisci era, and the brand’s revenues are now north of 500 million euros, or $540 million at current exchange. The number of employees has risen to more than 930 from 290 in 2005.
Philippe Fortunato, ceo of Givenchy, has been spearheading its recent expansion thrust and credited Tisci’s “visionary qualities that led to a strong growth of the brand.”
Givenchy today boasts 72 freestanding stores, compared to only seven in 2005 when Tisci arrived.
Something of a fashion wunderkind, Tisci grew up poor in Taranto, Italy, and Como during the boom years for Versace, Armani and Valentino. At 16, fresh out of art school, he landed a job designing fabrics for an Italian textile firm, at which point his destiny became clear. A year later, he was at Central Saint Martins and earning British scholarships that allowed him to finish his degree.
His first work experiences were in Italy, with Stefano Guerriero, Antonio Berardi, Coccapani and Ruffo Research, while he nurtured his signature label with a strong following in London. When Ruffo went bankrupt, he went soul-searching in India, gathered up his strength and returned to Milan and staged a show that would all but seal his employment contract at Givenchy.
Once installed at the couture house, he brought a dark, Goth-tinged fierceness and severity, which he ultimately married to more romantic inclinations, clashing together such disparate influences as Victorian dressing and chola culture to produce runway fireworks.
Tisci would seem a natural for Versace, given his penchant for bold prints, demonstrative hardware and tough chic.
As reported, Versace is rethinking the timing of its initial public offering as it embarks on a significant expansion plan ahead of a listing.
Asked on Jan. 19 about Tisci’s potential arrival at the company, a spokesman said, “Donatella Versace is the creative director of the company, and at this time, we do not have any plans to change that. Beyond that…we do not comment on rumors.”
A spokesman on Thursday reiterated that statement, declining further comment.
To be sure, a leading designer such as Tisci would ramp up the brand’s “cool factor,” social media reach and appeal. The designer boasts 1.8 million followers on Instagram.
At that time, Versace echoed the sentiment, and gave a resounding endorsement to her Paris-based counterpart: “Riccardo Tisci is extremely talented and, above all, my dear friend. We are family. I want to get rid of the old system, work together, support each other and make fashion a true global community.”
Versace’s own stores are increasingly becoming the engine behind the brand’s growth, as shown by its performance in 2015, when retail sales were up 28.9 percent to 400.7 million euros, or $440.7 million.