Givenchy's Riccardo Tisci Wants to Democratize Fashion One VIP Show Ticket at a Time


Givenchy’s Riccardo Tisci. Photography by Karim Sadli. 

As it turns out, the creative, inclusive spirit of New York City is alive and well after all. At least according to Riccardo Tisci, the creative director of Givenchy, who has chosen Manhattan as a petri dish for a handful of firsts for the historic French label. Not only has Tisci decided to move the Spring 2016 runway presentation from Paris to New York, he has offered 820 tickets to the public on a first-come-first-serve basis via registration on On top of that, around 100 seats will be put aside for residents who live near the to-be-disclosed outdoor show space and an additional 280 tickets will go to students and professors from the city’s top fashion colleges. Oh, and there will be multiple live screenings of the runway presentation at various locations throughout the city, too. (It should be noted that these roughly 1,200 guests will view the show from a raised platform away from the regularly invited fashion editors and celebrities. Because, the revolution of inclusion can only go so far so fast it seems.)

“I am obsessed with America and it has been my dream to show in NY for a long time,” Tisci said recently over e-mail. “It’s where Monsieur Givenchy first opened in New York, so that’s where our soul belongs.”

While Givenchy has some historical roots in New York, Tisci’s bold, public gesture is unprecedented, to say the least. But in today’s more-is-more, post-Instagram fashion climate (indeed, the thought of merely live streaming a fashion show feels outright quaint these days), his decision to make room in the show’s seating chart for fans is a triumphant public relations coup for Tisci’s branded vision of inclusivity. (Indeed, he and his cohorts like the nightlife personality Ladyfag, who is hosting the presentation’s afterparty, namecheck their extended creative circle on social media as #lafamilia.) The unabashedly populist feel to Givenchy’s NYC takeover may spook some fashion insiders used to only seeing familiar faces at every pit stop. But to many influential players in the industry, it’s part of what makes Tisci’s renegade spirit stand out. “Attending fashion shows today can be so repetitive, and it’s always crowded by celebrities,” said Carine Roitfeld. “I think it is fresh and revolutionary to open the doors of a show to the public. This new wave of people attending gives new energy.”


Tisci with industry allies Carine Roitfeld and with Marina Abramović. Photo: BFA

It also reflects Tisci’s long-held appreciation for youth culture beyond fashion’s pearly gates. “His entire approach about fashion is that it should be made available to everybody,” said Marina Abramović, who is helping art direct Givenchy’s upcoming runway show taking place on September 11th. “I think this is also something related to how much street culture has always been his main inspiration.”

While few can deny Tisci’s boldness, there are some grumblings about what this means for the increasingly sports-arena tone to fashion week. Commenting on The New York Times “On the Runway” blog, fashion critic Vanessa Friedman called Givenchy’s Manhattan chess move “the top of a potential slippery slope of fashion week transformation.” Or to put it more bluntly, “O.M.G.! O.M.G.! And all that,” she wrote.

But for industry allies like Abramović and Roitfeld, it’s just another example of how Tisci uses spectacle and glamour to reflect the sign of the times. “Pictures and videos are posted on the Internet and social media right after the show of course, so anyone has the chance to see it that way,” Roitfeld said. “but having access for the public to actually be there, I think it will create a totally new ambiance.”

But the open-door presentation is not the only splashy event Givenchy is offering to the public during its New York visit. Tisci will also be toasting the label’s first Manhattan flagship, an almost-5,000-square-foot minimalist boutique on Madison Avenue. The space will be a blurring of the line between “the gallery and the retail environment,” he said. And on Tuesday, he announced on his personal instagram account that he will also “introduce” his new line of denim titled Givenchy Jeans. “What better place to do than NYC. Stay Tuned!” he wrote in all caps under a campaign image starring the models Candice Swanepoel and Alessio Pozzi shot by Mert Alas & Marcus Peggiot.


Tisic’s campaign announcement via Instagram. Photo: @riccardotisci17/Instagram

While Tisci is breaking new ground around ideas about what makes a fashion show feel modern, there is a possibility his special brand of showmanship might also bring back a type of old-school charm lost in today’s iPhone moment. “I just hope the audience will applaud the designer at the end,” Roitfeld said. “Because when you look at many shows today, everyone is doing a quick video for Instagram and it’s the total silence. No one applauds anymore.”

Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest for nonstop inspiration delivered fresh to your feed, every day.