Riccardo Tisci on the story behind the Nike kit which all the most stylish athletes will be sporting in Rio

If Riccardo Tisci were competing in a fashion take on the Olympics, he would surely win a gold medal for multi-tasking capabilities. This summer, he's been busy creating the Givenchy Couture collection which was shown in early July and is busy planning ahead for the ready-to-wear show in October. But he's also managed to collaborate with Nike on a two-part collaboration to celebrate the Olympic games in Rio.

The Italian-born designer, who counts Kim, Kanye and Jay-Z amongst his closest pals, worked with Nike's labs in Portland to create the perfect blend of performance sportswear, Brazilian celebration and distinctive Tisci style. The first drop comprised bold monochrome graphic prints while the second part of the collection-out today- is all about hidden meanings and the Olympic spirit. Whether you opt for head-to-toe vibrant prints a la Sanya Richards-Ross, the very stylish American Olympian who's already been wearing the collection in Rio, or mix the florals with slick black and white leggings, this is the ultimate new motivational kit.

On a busy Friday afternoon a few weeks ago, Riccardo Tisci told The Telegraph the story behind this fashionably celebratory collection...

Tisci felt like a student again

"Nike really challenged me" Tisci almost sings down the phone from Paris. "I'm doing couture and I've also been doing streetwear for many years so I'm quite an urban designer but this one was more technical. Nike gave me carte blanche to do whatever I wanted but at the same time they have all these technical fabrics and elements. The collection is meant to be all about helping the human body to perform better. That made me think 'Oh my god, that so technical, what am I going to do?' "

Tisci was whisked off to Nike's HQ in Oregon to get the lowdown on all the company's most advanced technical features. "I'm used to dictating to people what I want (laughs) but for this I sat down for a kind of lecture with Nike about the technology and everything they're doing. New fabrics, new ways to sew, new ways to do everything. It was interesting to be a student and not a teacher for a second. I was listening and watching and touching."

Nike x Riccardo Tisci

silver bridesmaid dresses uk

It's made to wear all day- and heels are welcome

"I came back to Paris from America," Tisci remembers, "I kept what I had learnt from them. Then went back to my designs. To make clothes only to look beautiful is one thing, to make clothes to do things is another but to do both- wow!"

With the rise and rise of athleisure and the almost permanent presence which sportswear has in our lives, whether we're sprinting or sauntering, Tisci had it in mind that the collection should work for every life occassion. "It's for performance but the pieces could be worn with high heels. You go to yoga, you go to the gym, you go to play basketball but you don't know what to wear on top to get to the place so we have pieces for before and after as well," he explains.

The first part of the collection was released earlier in the summer and Tisci said he's already noticed people using it for exactly the purpose he'd envisioned. "I already see people wearing it and taking pictures on the street, in a bar, in the office- it's great but also quite interesting because that was our goal with Nike."

The print brings together Italy, Oregon and Brazil

Perhaps the most recognisable element of the collection is the floral print which appears on hats, t-shirts, leggings and hoodies. "The print is unusual for Nike. I'm lucky because I've been working very closely with them they let me go into the archives and I discovered that such a strong a print has never been done," he points out.

"The second drop had to be something which represented this incredible moment of the Olympics" says Tisci. "There are three fundamental elements; me, Nike and Brazil. So I studied the flora and fauna of Taranto in Italy where I'm from, Oregon where Nike is based and then Brazilian flowers. So that all came together and then if you look closely the flowers have skull faces which is a positive thing in a way- they bring luck! In America and China everyone is going crazy for it. Who said you can't run in full-on print? It's a pretty sexy collection- I'm sexy, Nike is sexy!"

It's all about the beauty of real-life

Despite his glamorous life and famous friendships- "I thought about Marina Abramovic, Beyonce, Madonna and how they would wear it"- Tisci maintains that real life is the best inspiration. "I'm a very curious. I bring every collection I do back to reality because real life is what inspires me the most. It's the most beautiful thing we have as humans. I wanted people to be able to wear it for sport but also to clubs with friends at the weekend. My friends give me love and energy- they're the most beautiful thing we have."

Although that's not to say that the glamazons of the world don't provide a little respite from the daily grind. "Gisele is such a pin-up" Tisci exclaims of the supermodel who appeared in a recent Givenchy jeans campaign and starred in Friday's opening ceremony, "girls like her make people dream."

On the positive outlook of Brazillians

"I am worried about what Brazil is going through at the moment, politically and socially" admits Tisci, "but I've been there 22 times in my life and I really do love it. I'm the representative of AmfAR (the Aids research charity) in Brazil with Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell. Even at moments of crisis the Brazillians are full of life , positive and super happy. They know how to live."

turquoise bridesmaid dresses