“A fashion house is a laboratory which must conserve its mystery” were the words of Hubert de Givenchy. Enter Riccardo Tisci a relatively unknown fashion designer that has taken Givenchy by storm. In a bold he has unveiled Erykah Badu as the new face of Givenchy SS14.
Erykah Badu is an icon who represents Afro-eccentric culture throughout her clothing and music for over a decade. Tisci has labeled Ms Badu as the inspiration behind his designs. Which may have begun during his time in London studying and graduating fro Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in 1999.
In a bold statement Tisci said: ‘It’s 2013…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.”
Tisci’s decision to use Badu represents more than just an unexpected casting choice. For Tisci, it is also a deliberate move to introduce more faces of color into the fashion fold. Tisci was careful to note that he hopes the rest of the fashion world soon catches up to his lead.
It is evident and also intriguing that influence seen in this recent collection of tribal prints. The beauty lays within his ability to modernise a form of art using colour and textures.
The duo sat down with V magazine to discuss the collabaration below, check some of the highlights below.
V Erykah, did you know Riccardo before you got the call to appear in the ads?
ERYKAH BADU I just got a call from him. There’s not a big backstory to it. Unless you want to include that I’m a big fan of his work.
RICCARDO TISCI I knew her as a musician and an artist. And she is a real artist. We had crossed paths before once in New York but never really knew each other. I asked her and she said yes. I was very, very happy. I wanted to represent the collection with style and elegance and I think she is perfect for that.
V In addition to being an incredible artist, you’re also quite a fashion magpie. Are clothes another mode of expression for you?
EB It’s all art to me. I just really enjoy expressing myself artistically in any genre. Whether it be music or cooking or hair. Costume, makeup, fashion. It’s just fun exploring all of the little things inside of my head and seeing them manifest. I would liken fashion or styling to putting a lump of clay in the middle of the table and carving away. And there’s something underneath. Layering and silhouettes. A pair of earrings. I think it comes down to my favorite things and how they come together. That’s fun when that happens.
RT And this is one of the great things that drew me to Erykah. Aside from being quite talented, and the queen of the ’90s. I was thinking of someone who was quite elegant and urban. She’s always been this way. She has a very good sense of style, she’s great with jewelry. Her look can be quite feminine with the turban and a dress but also masculine with flat shoes or trainers. It all works.
V There have been a few musicians—Rihanna, Miley, Gaga—appearing in fashion campaigns this year. Why do you think that is?
EB I think that we keep each other moving creatively, especially those that have been in this game awhile. To see our fellow artists like Riccardo and Donatella choose musicians only shows that we are all connected. My creative song is married to Riccardo’s creative eye, perhaps because I can sing a lot of songs about these designs and ideas that he has. I think it’s just the spirit of where we are as a whole tribe of humans. Visual expresses music expresses theme expresses theory. Everything goes together to more broadly express what the artist is trying to say. There’s no way I can express what I’m trying to say without the help of some visual artist completing my sentences. I think right now we’re completing each other’s sentences, artistically.