When Luis De Javier unveils his spring 2024 show, “La Ruta,” in Los Angeles on Saturday as part of LA Fashion Week, it will be under the mentorship of Riccardo Tisci, the former creative director of Burberry who has been the subject of much fashion world speculation since his departure in March from the British brand.
The Spanish-born, London-based De Javier, who has dressed Beyoncé, Cardi B, Rosalía and Kim Kardashian in the short time since launching his brand in February 2020, met Tisci a year-and-a-half ago at a dinner party hosted by photographer Steven Klein in London.
“They sat me next to him, which I was like, ‘Holy f—k’ — I’m sorry,” he smiled, catching the swear. “I was just so shocked that I was sat down next to Riccardo,” he went on. “The person that kind of paved the way for designers like me.”
De Javier thanked him for it, and to his surprise Tisci was already familiar with his work.
“He said he really liked my stuff,” explained De Javier, who made his New York Fashion Week debut in February, when Julia Fox made headlines walking in a form-fitting denim corset dress with bull horns protruding from the bra cups.
“We instantly connected. He knew so much about my work, and showed me his. I saw a lot of purity and freedom in him, a true boundary-breaking spirit. It reminded me of how feel-good fashion was in the ’90s,” said Tisci. “I found his obsession with darkness in fashion very close to my heart. It brought back many sweet memories of the early days in my career, designing for my own brand in Milan. It quickly turned into an ongoing conversation, in which I would motivate him to unapologetically be himself.”
De Javier would send Tisci updates, photographs and videos of his work process and designs
“He spent three weeks in my raggedy studio in London getting down and dirty with me, filling me up with confidence and guidance in the most sweetest, kindest and nurturing way,” De Javier said.
He lost himself, he shared, as he got deeper into the fashion industry. His time with Tisci has brought him back the confidence he initially had in his early years.
“I really don’t know how I’m ever gonna repay him. I called my mom like, ‘Can you just bring Spanish ham for him or something to L.A?’ She was like, ‘No, I can’t get that through customs,’” he laughed.
It’s a family affair; his mother, sister and cousins also made the trip for the show.
“Honestly, it’s the father figure I’ve always dreamed of,” he added of Tisci, who will be there, too.
“I truly wished I had a mentor starting out, so I tried to give him what I didn’t have, a guiding force that would allow him to be himself, to assert his own identity, creating his own world,” said Tisci. “I love that his work is about the real him, it doesn’t follow trends or try to emulate something that exists, it’s solely about his own lane. I found that not only inspiring, but also highly rewarding. After two decades of working within the industry, I am grateful for his drive and passion, that constantly reminds me of why we create: to find a place where dreams are made.“
Along with mentorship, Tisci is helping with casting. Expect Georgia Palmer, De Javier’s friend and muse, among the faces.
There will be about 25 looks, showcasing leather, latex (“in an architectural sort of way”), metal and jersey. It’s ready-to-wear, streetwear, and his take on workwear.
“It’s the essence of the brand but also where the brand will be in five years,” said De Javier who in a December 2021 interview with WWD described his designs as representative of the queer community he designs for, adding that his aesthetic is “sex on legs.”
He’s now catering to an audience beyond that though, he added. Presenting the new vision at LAFW was simply divine timing, with the financial backing he needed and the support of Tisci.
“I think people are going to be a bit surprised about how chic it’s going to be,” he said. “I’ve never been so centered and myself, and I see it in the collection.”