AN INTERVIEW ABOUT CASTING WITH GIVENCHY ARTISTIC DIRECTOR RICCARDO TISCI
"I’m looking for the timeless, the effortless in everything I do."
He will make you a star. This isn’t a promise, or a lure, this isn’t Hollywood. This is about love, because Riccardo Tisci feels love deeply. He also sees beauty in ways that most of us initially don’t—until we’re told—or wooed by the magic that Tisci brings to life when he discovers a model, casts her in one of his shows, and inducts her into his enviable #Ggang. It is a family after all. You will be loved forever. This isn’t a lure. Joan Smalls, Natasha Poly, Lakshmi Menon, and Lara Stone are a few of the stars he saw for the first time. Over the summer, Tisci shared with us some casting notes he had from Fall/Winter 2016.
What thoughts were in your mind when you cast the FW16 shows?
For me, models mean a lot because they’re not just presenting my collection; they’re really giving it life. I’m deeply bound to that idea. I’ve always been doing casting and I’m constantly looking for new girls. It is not that I want to find a girl, then have her become the girl of the season and drop her. I’m building relationships for years and years. I have my family and gang, which we carry on season after season.
Were you looking for something in particular?
A really good model has got a personality. It’s about beauty, of course—like a classic kind of beauty—but that isn’t the only factor. A girl can have an unusual personality or a strange beauty. And for me, you see it, you feel it in the moment you meet the girl, that she could be the girl. You know, at the end of the day, a show is not just made out of the clothes; it’s made out of emotion. I’m very touched by intelligence and beauty.
What are some of your favorite questions to ask models when you meet them?
During casting, I’m never asking questions. I don’t need to know what a person does in life. I prefer to talk to people and understand the character. I like people having character and personality. It’s all about the connection I make with a human being; sometimes you don’t need a lot of words to connect on a deeper level, it’s like love.
What story are you telling with this casting?
The inspiration of the FW16 collection was Egyptian culture, music, and the world of pop. My casting is always very strong. The Givenchy woman is a working girl with more independence, so she is free to make her own choices, and that’s what she does when she wears Givenchy. She decides to stand for herself and not let anyone tell her what she can and cannot wear. She is fearless and brave.
Does a 2016 model carry him or herself differently than ten years ago? How so?
You know, I’m looking for the timeless, the effortless in everything I do. So to me, the Givenchy woman I have introduced ten years ago is still the same person. Only, she has grown. Her way of moving has become more mature, more refined. She has followed the natural course of any woman; she learned to be sexual in a subtle way, to behave, to express her inner self with intelligence and allure. So yes, the Givenchy model is a bit different today, her growth happened organically.
You’ve street cast entire shows before. What are the challenges and benefits of working with non-models?
I don’t like men and women looking like robots. This is why I’m doing the casting myself. I wanted to make a real casting. I don’t like to exclude people. For that, I keep my eyes open to anyone I see who could fit the Givenchy universe. Of course, it is harder to work with real life persons who lack the model experience, but it always makes it so much more magical, because it is anchored in reality. The models at Givenchy, they relate to the people watching them, they are representative of today’s society.
Do you play music during the casting?
Yes! I love music; I’m obsessed with music. Any kind of music—anything that is giving me an emotion. It’s the only moment where people—young generations especially but even older generations—can relax, let themselves go, meet people and meet love. This is why I love music. I love the last album from Anohni—she’s my friend—and especially the song “Drone Bomb Me.”
This is the Oh La La Land issue, which creatively combines Paris with L.A. Many would describe L.A. as a mythical city. Would you agree? Are there any specific myths that you hold dear?
I love L.A., because it means being quieter in my mind, more relaxed. The sun is always there and that motion of large spaces always encourages your creativity. So it is very beneficial in that way. Specific myths that come to mind? Maybe the haunted courtyard at Chateau Marmont—I always stay there.
Written by Mui-Hai Chu
Photographer: Max Von Gumppenberg and Patrick Bienert.
Models: Fernando Cabral for Marilyn Agency, Francesco Cuizza for Premium Models, Charlee Fraser for IMG Models, Leila Goldkuhl for Next Management, Olivia Jones for IMG Models, Julia Nobis for Viva Model Management, Lia Pavlova for New Madison, and Deion Smith for Red Model Management.