Riccardo Tisci On Erykah Badu: "She Is the Exact Definition of Style"

by Riccardo Tisci / photos by Theo Wenner
The first time we met was at one of her concerts in New York a few years back. But the first time we actually connected was when she arrived to the set of the campaign. I was so nervous -- it is rare to spend time with one of your idols, and she is truly one of my ultimate ones. She was nothing short of what I had in mind. She arrived with the most outrageous hair (a solo braid long to the floor) and an amazing hat. She was the exact definition of style according to me. We clicked immediately. We hugged and talked for so long, about everything and anything. And we share so much more than aesthetics... I love her.

On the campaign set, she started styling the looks she was supposed to wear and I was amazed. The effortlessness was striking. Everything she put together worked perfect and screamed Givenchy. She came with her own personal stuff in case we were to need it, and I discovered that she owned many pieces that I designed. That's when I realized we shared the same taste.

You know, I grew up with my mother, surrounded by eight older sisters, so the only characters I could relate and look up to at a young age were women. I think that gave me a creative mindset. I tend to always be looking for the strong, fearless, bold independent woman. That's exactly what drew me to Erykah. I didn't know her personally but I was so attracted, it was obsessive. She's a modern warrior, a tribal goddess that I couldn't shake off my mind. I am so happy we are friends today.

What people don't suspect is how involved she is in every aspect. We have mutual respect for each other: she'll ask me what I think, and I'll ask her opinion too. We nourish each other. But she is so on it -- it is very refreshing. She always adds her touch, knows about fashion, about hair, make-up, photography, everything. Her art isn't just music; it is reaching a concept at its highest level in every discipline.

If I were to say a quote that defines her, it would be "Bow Down Bitches!" She has paved the way for so many of today's artists. I see a lot of visuals and hear a lot of music nowadays that are related to her legacy. She is an icon in that way.

Erykah is the perfect Givenchy woman. She has that ambiguity, that contrast of high-end fashion meeting street culture. She'll wear an haute couture dress with Nike sneakers without ever doubting the association. It is very rare for a designer to witness their vision of the woman come to life, and that's what Erykah does for me. That's why she is #verytisci.


A Q&A with Erykah Badu

Ladyfag on Riccardo Tisci

Hair by Peter Butler at abtp.com / Makeup by Chiho Omae using MAC Cosmetics for Frank Reps / Manicure by Eri Handa at Melbourne Artists Management

Photographer Assistant: Nick Krasznai / Digital Tech: Erik Swain

Interns: Haley Sherif, Aaron Ealy and Stanton Jacinto

Location: Go Studios

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