Though his work at Givenchy gets rave reviews and is credited with saving the house financially, Riccardo Tisci says he wasn't sure why he was selected for the job.
In an interview with Stylist magazine, the press-shy designer explained that filling the position once occupied by Alexander McQueen and John Galliano was, initially, a daunting task.
"When you come after such genius, it's hard," he said. "For a very long time I didn't understand why they took me."
Tisci became the youngest designer entrusted with a couture house in 2005 when, at age 30, he replaced Julien Macdonald. Last year, he revealed that he only took the job to save his family from financial ruin.
"I was going to say no," he said. "But the week before, my mother called me and said to me, 'I am going to tell you something I haven't even told your sisters: I think I am going to sell our house because your sisters are struggling, they're having children, they need the money. I will go to a retirement home.' When I heard that it was like a knife in my heart. I felt like such a failure, that my mother had to sell the house of my father whom I don't remember. And then I went to Paris, and they showed me a contract with all these zeros on it, and it was like help from God. I thought 'If I sign this, my mother will never have to worry again.' So I signed it."
Photo: Rooney Mara and Riccardo Tisci walk the red carpet at the 2012 Met Gala.