Burberry Appoints New Chief Creative Officer Replacing Christopher Bailey

Riccardo Tisci walks the runway during the Givenchy Show- Getty-H 2017
Estrop/Getty Images

Riccardo Tisci will be based in London, direct all Burberry collections and present his first for the brand in September.

British luxury goods brand Burberry on Thursday announced that Riccardo Tisci has been appointed chief creative officer.

He replaces Christopher Bailey, who took his final bow with a rainbow-filled show at London Fashion Week that attracted Naomi Watts, Idris Elba, Lily James and others in its starry front row.

Tisci, a native of Italy and who is a graduate of Central Saint Martins in London, will direct all Burberry collections and present his first for the brand in September. He will be based at Burberry’s headquarters in London.

It was Bailey (along with former CEO Angela Ahrendts, now senior vp retail at Apple) who transformed the Burberry brand into a billion-dollar business by saving it from its chavvy, downmarket reputation when he came on as design director in 2001. He built it into a media and marketing behemoth by being the first to live-stream fashion shows and introduce the see-now-buy-now model of showing product available to shoppers immediately online. 

A critically acclaimed designer across womenswear, menswear, leather goods and accessories (including his popular Nike collaboration), Tisci joins Burberry after more than a decade at Givenchy, where he was creative director from 2005 to 2017, attracting a who’s who of Hollywood and pop music with his streetwear and couture designs, including Beyonce, Madonna, Rihanna, Kanye West and Kim Kardashian.

He designed the wedding gown Kardashian wore when she tied the knot with West in 2014, and directed the artwork for the singer's multi-award-winning Watch the Throne album with Jay Z. Tisci can also play in the realm of high culture; in 2015, he collaborated with the artist Marina Abramovic on a fashion show and touching tribute to 9/11 staged on the banks of the Hudson River in New York City, with the Freedom Tower as a backdrop.

No doubt, Burberry is hoping Tisci can bring some renewed star power to its brand, as well as a streetwear edge, since at Givenchy his menacing Rottweiler T-shirt, sweatshirt and sneaker designs, debuted in 2011, helped usher in the rise of the graphic-designed, casual sportswear that is now a force in the luxury market.  

"I am delighted that Riccardo is joining Burberry as chief creative officer. Riccardo is one of the most talented designers of our time," said Burberry CEO Marco Gobbetti in a release. "His designs have an elegance that is contemporary and his skill in blending streetwear with high fashion is highly relevant to today’s luxury consumer. Riccardo’s creative vision will reinforce the ambitions we have for Burberry and position the brand firmly in luxury."

Said Tisci: "I am honored and delighted to be joining Burberry as its new chief creative officer and reuniting with Marco Gobbetti. I have an enormous respect for Burberry’s British heritage and global appeal and I am excited about the potential of this exceptional brand."