Riccardo Tisci nearly turned down his job at Givenchy

Way back in 2005, designer Riccardo Tisco was picked to replace Julien Macdonald as creative director at Givenchy – but explains he almost turned the opportunity of a lifetime down in order to concentrate on his own line of clothing.

“I wasn’t interested,” says Tisci. “Not at all. I was going to say no. But the week before, my mother called me and said to me, ‘I am going to tell you something I haven’t even told your sisters: I think I am going to sell our house because your sisters are struggling, they’re having children, they need the money. I will go to a retirement home.’ When I heard that it was like a knife in my heart. I felt like such a failure, that my mother had to sell the house of my father whom I don’t remember. And then I went to Paris, and they showed me a contract with all these zeros on it, and it was like help from God. I thought ‘If I sign this, my mother will never have to worry again.’ So I signed it.”

Tisci is also the hot favourite to replace John Galliano at Christian Dior headquarters, but he credits his success to his family, especially his mother – we’re practically welling up.

“My mother, she gave me everything,” Tisci tells Vogue UK. “She gave me the confidence to believe in myself. It’s a strange time in fashion – everything has got so big. We can get very insular, the fashion tribe – we think we’re a lot of people but actually we’re very small – but my mother, my sisters don’t understand fashion now, which is how I realised what the final consumer feels. They don’t want to buy image, they want to buy substance.”

You’ve hit the nail on the sartorial head, Tisci.

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