[Givenchy by Riccardo Tisci]
Givenchy’s boundary-pushing Creative Director Riccardo Tisci is always doing his best to turn our idea of cool on its head. He's Kanye West’s best friend, well-known for dressing both Kim Kardashian and Baby Nori and in major cahoots with fashion’s one-and-only Carine Roitfeld; every move the designer makes is watched attentively. So his decision to makes a point of celebrating his love of diversity in his new campaign that is sure to have ramifications across the industry. Coming after a recent attack on the homogeneity of international model casting (70’s casting director and supermodel Bethann Hardison wrote an open letter addressed to the CFDA on the subject with fellow models Naomi Campbell and Iman on side), Tisci’s images are all the more powerful.
Tisci had already been planning his new campaign with its singer star Erykah Badu as the face when Hardison’s arguments hit the press and he had gone on record on style.com to talk about how diversity had always attracted him. “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 said.
The new Givenchy campaign sees Badu and models Maria Borges, Riley and Dominik Bauer embodying that diversity, bringing international beauty from disparate parts of the globe and creating typically achingly cool shots.
[Riccardo at the 2013 PUNK Met Ball - Getty]
Diverse casting is no new trend for Riccardo, who caused a media stir when he cast the first transgender model Lea T (his former assistant) to walk on his catwalk in May 2010. "She's always been very feminine: super-fragile, very aristocratic. She's part of the family," he told WWD at the time.
Tisci hopes that the rest of the globe will take his lead: “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.” Well said Mr Tisci.