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Life + Times: Watch the Throne - Riccardo Tisci Interview

After resting and recuperating in Ibiza, Givenchy’s creative director Riccardo Tisci catches up with Jay-Z’s Life + Times for an interview. Givenchy creative lead has transcended fashion into music thanks to his direction for Kanye West and Jay-Z’s latest album, Watch the Throne. The interview in which excerpts are seen below talked about his recent holiday at the Spanish party island, the relationship of music and his design, and finally some personal questions about his lifestyle.

Life + Times: Glad we connected. Took a while to get through to you. How’s it going?
Riccardo Tisci: I’m good. Crazy moment. But it’s all under control. I’m back from the holiday. And [Givenchy] is launching the new collection, plus the new men’s couture coming up, but having a great time. And you?

L+T: We’re good. No complaints. Where were you for August?
RT: I went to Ibiza. I was supposed to go to Turkey. But, I had so much fun in Ibiza that I decided to spend the entire month in there. I love music and I have lots of friends who DJ, and it’s one of the best places for music. So, I spent the entire summer there meeting new people and DJs and having a good time.

L+T: How was it?
RT: I spent time with my friends a lot. We would spend time together, and relax, and do yoga, chill, and go out on the boat. And then, we went wild. Especially on Monday night. Do you know the club DC10? I love it there.

L+T: I don’t. What’s it like?
RT: It’s one of the clubs in Ibiza. I’m not super old, I’m 37, but it used to be much more free and much more underground. I used to go there when I was young and since then…in the last ten years or so, once things got much more “luxury.” This club has managed to stay, umm, ghetto. DJs start there when they are young. On Monday nights, it’s 7am to 2am. It’s this big garage, and it used to be after hours. Now, everyone goes and has the best time. So Monday night, it was like going to the church. Every Monday a new DJ. Everyone I knew was going to be there. I really love music and DJs. So, I spent a lot of time there.

L+T: Tell us a bit about coming up with the artwork for JAY Z and Kanye West’s Watch The Throne.
RT: I have huge respect for these two. Since I was a child, I’ve always been obsessed with rap and hip-hop. I met Kanye when he came to my show and we developed a relationship. And then I was approached about doing this collaboration, which was a big project. Two big names approaching a designer was a pretty big deal. I have been asked before in my life to collaborate with musicians [Ed note: Tisci has designed for Madonna in the past], but only on costumes and clothing. But in some ways, I didn’t want to do it because I didn’t feel ready. Of course, fashion is expression. Like art, like music, it’s an emotion. So, it’s more about mood and emotion and not just the clothing. When they first asked me, I was really scared. And then, we began the discussions about movies, DJs, general things. So, I felt that the collaboration was necessary. This is one of the best collaborations I’ve ever done. I always want to do the best and respect the people around me. But at the same time, it was very tough.

L+T: What inspired the art? What influences did you draw from?
RT: The funny thing is, growing up, I’ve always loved JAY and Missy Elliot. But for me, this type of music always represented things like women, sex, diamonds, fur, cars and luxury. But when it came to the artwork, it was really important to me to represent the pure genius inside of them, and in some ways, go back to the roots – the real rap, which has been more experimental in the last few years. I also wanted to showcase how proud they are to be Americans. I really wanted to make them happy with the outcome. I decided on the color gold, which to me, represents luxury. It has always been about rap, including “the good life.” I really wanted to represent that in a color. And then, I wanted to represent America. And since they are both very handsome men, I wanted to touch on elements of sexuality and their strong personalities, showing off an animal dialogue, because I am obsessed with animals. And then, incorporate religion. And it didn’t have to be Catholic. It’s more about a point in life. For me, religion can be abstract. There are also elements of freedom as well.

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