Riccardo Tisci, perhaps best known for his time as the creative director of Givenchy, has been recently installed as the chief creative officer at Burberry. This is Tisci's return to the head of major house since departing Givenchy roughly a year ago. He will be replacing Burberry's outgoing president and chief creative officer Christopher Bailey, who has been at the storied British house since 2001. Tisci will enter his new position as of March 12 of this year.

"Riccardo is one of the most talented designers of our time, remarked Burberry CEO Marco Gobetti to Business of Fashion. "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.”

Truly that is the challenge facing Burberry, a brand that has both benefitted from, and been burned by, those sporting its iconic Burberry check. From Fashion Week collections, to football casuals and chavs Burberry has had a complicated past that seems to consistently intersect between the realms of high-luxury and streetwear. Fortunately for the lagging British house, Tisci seems like the perfect man to strike that harder-than-it-looks balance.

Givenchy, largely struggling under the lukewarm leadership of designer Julien Macdonald, blossomed following Tisci's takeover back in 2005. In his 12 years he transformed the company’s personality with jaw dropping runway shows and by being a step ahead on high fashion's love affair with streetwear. Garments like his now-infamous Rottweiler sweatshirt helped redefine the stuffy brand into a youthful, accessible label with global recognition. You don't become one of the longest serving creative heads at a major French maison (only founder Hubert de Givenchy helmed Givenchy for longer than Tisci) without a little bit of foresight and good taste.

Beyond the runway, Tisci’s designs for Watch The Throne—lending his talents to craft both the album cover and the tour’s merch—served as an early watershed moment for not just Givenchy and Tisci but fashion at large.

It's likely Tisci's relationship with Kanye West that connected him with West's-now wife Kim Kardashian. While Tisci did receive plenty of flak from his industry peers for catering to Kardashian's style of celebrity, he ultimately leveraged her popularity to his advantage, making Givenchy a household name while simultaneously thrusting Kim Kardashian (and by proxy her family) into coveted canvases for several high-fashion luxury labels.

Furthermore, Tisci's ongoing partnership with Nike has netted him even more fans in the streetwear community. While the partnership has been ongoing since 2014, his work with the Swoosh has gained continuous crossover hype collection, after collection. Fittingly, Bella Hadid served as the face of Tisci's most recent Nike collection.

But back to Burberry.

In an attempt to increase hype and reinvigorate the business, The British brand has seemed to strike a chord with younger shoppers, thanks in part to a collaboration with buzzy Russian designer Gosha Rubchinskiy. That said, building up and sustaining Burberry's multi-faceted business will take far more than a hyped-up, streetwear-leaning collection. In this way, tapping someone like Tisci shows that the executive suite is looking to install someone who is firmly rooted in luxury fashion design, without forgoing the modern necessity to appeal to younger, more streetwear-minded shoppers.

“The contemporary street style orientation of Riccardo Tisci is a great match to relaunch the image of Burberry,” wrote Mario Ortelli, senior analyst of luxury goods at Stanford C. Bernstein, according to Business of Fashion. “We believe that Burberry’s management will try to emulate the action plan of Gucci.” Beyond directing the vision for the advertisements, campaigns and (of course) runway collections, the expectation is that Tisci will be able to tactfully diversify the Burberry product lines, while maintaining Gobetti's high-luxury hopes. "By re-energising our product and customer experience to establish our position firmly in luxury, we will play in the most rewarding, enduring segment of the market,” Gobetti noted in a statement.

With a blend of celebrity and contemporary taste, Tisci is a fitting (albeit dark horse) candidate to take the reigns and lead Burberry as it attempts a full-brand balancing act. Speculating on what the designer will bring to the table may be thrilling, but look forward to Tisci's first collection with Burberry this coming September.

Shop Ricardo Tisci’s work with Givenchy and Nike here.

Shop more Burberry here.

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Tags: burberry, givenchy, riccardo-tisci