This morning, the Internet buzzed when it was announced that Givenchy’s Riccardo Tisci will be collaborating on a special project with Nike. “I couldn’t bring them technology, instead I brought my style, what people like me for and what the young generation follows me for,” the designer told Style.com’s Nicole Phelps. What the progenitor of haute Goth-chic is making for the mega sports brand remains to be seen. (Though we wouldn’t be shocked if Tisci lent his vision to a few neoprene t-shirts—a fitting endeavor, given the Italian ingénue’s penchant for spinning white-hot, blogged, re-blogged and obsessively catalogued Rottweiler’s and sharks.)
Much of the media talk has reflected Tisci’s “replacement” of one-time Nike collaborate Kanye—aka Tisci’s favorite celebrity front row friend, extended family, collaborator, “bro,” traveling magical companion, etc.
We think there’s a much more interesting layer to be discussed. Namely, Givenchy’s characterization of his relationship with Nike, the brand—and his relationship with American iconography (and globalization) more broadly. “In Europe, America is the flag, McDonald’s, Marlboro, and Nike, for a kid it’s very important,” explained Tisci. He’s sent Disney Bambi sweatshirts down the runway (FW13), cut bits of the American flag across his bags, and has interwoven more than a few developing world street adaptations of Americana/takes on globalization into his garments. (Just look at Mens SS14, in which Tisci gave us “Nerd Africa” – a print digitalized take on African urban street wear mixed with the motifs of LA skate culture.) He also created those somewhat infamous Favela 74 tees. Tisci certainly has a way of appropriating the iconography of American consumerism. Is Nike the next big shift? Do ethics—complex, scattered, implicitly convoluted in this case—matter here?