When the Givenchy store opened on Madison Avenue in New York in August 2015, its accouterments included chic black-and-white lacquered finishings, a $29,000 embroidered military jacket and, hung high from the rafters, a giant portrait of Donatella Versace.
That photograph, from Givenchy’s fall ad campaign shot by Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott, telegraphed in a highly unusual manner a strong friendship between competitive designers. No matter how varied the aesthetics, in the luxury space, everybody competes. In the case of these two designers, not anymore, as Tisci is now a free agent (assuming an expired or soon-to-expire non-compete) since he left Givenchy after the conclusion of his contract with LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton. Even before he showed his last collection for the house, rumors had started to swirl that the mutual admiration proclaimed so boldly in that ad campaign would expand into a working relationship. In the context of the past year’s global game of musical designers, that Tisci would sign on at Versace was often discussed as a fait accompli. The obvious accompanying assumption: Donatella would relinquish her creative perch to make room.
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