Matthew Williams puts viewers in the splash zone for Givenchy’s Women’s and Men’s Fall/Winter 2021 Ready-to-wear collection. With an original techno score by Robert Hood titled Organized Chaos, Williams’ first show presentation links lavishness and austerity with the imperfect beauty of humanity. Set in a moody void of harness bras, faux fur-infused streetwear, and hardware adorned leather, Williams approach of utility and luxury turns hardcore.
Alongside being the new Creative Director of Givenchy, Williams runs his own streetwear-inspired label, 1017 Alyx 9SM. With a foundation built on magnifying the undercurrent, his company focuses on mixing high quality materials with subversive culture and modern craftsmanship. His established style for utilitarian influence is a skill set that has very apparently been transferred over to the Couture brand. Far are we from the Givenchy that designed Meghan Markle’s royal wedding dress.
In today’s collection for Paris Fashion Week, Williams’ affinity for fabrication and material experimentation echoed throughout. Aside from the occasional pop of fire red, the looks themselves all predominately showcased a monochromatic color of black, off-white, and brown. While the color palette remained simple the pieces themselves were far from it. Street style influenced elements were fused with avant-garde creations to represent this tension between extravagance and disciple. Stand out pieces hard to ignore, included an oversized Alexander McQueen type wedge, an intricately braided, distressed technique, and steel embossed handkerchief motifs which all worked to add an additional level of dimension. By bridging the classical, radical, and practical, the silhouettes for both men and women explored this tension of extremes. Present even within the accessories, an elaborate network of leather straps, unisex metallic chains, hoods, and gauntlets present throughout the collection worked to ground the garments with a sense of drama as well as armor.
In similar style to William’s debut Givenchy collection for Spring 2021, it is clear he is not backing down any less with the amount of craftsmanship. The smoky-eyed models featured in the show, like Bella Hadid and Adut Akerch, looked to be showcasing at least three different materials and techniques as they splashed through the water soaked runway. Sensorially and voluptuary were the two main themes present in the use of materials. Knit ski masks were paired with puffer jackets and faux fur mittens, embellished leggings were juxtaposed with clean, draped skirts, and faux fur trimmed, sheer fabric were decorated with tasseled embellishments. Materials that enveloped the wearer in almost a cocoon like fashion also prevailed. This sense of swaddling represented through layering and an exaggerated winter silhouette explore feelings of comfort and protection as well as ease and extravagance. This partnering of concepts on Williams’ part proves to be a unique approach to modern fashion that’s able to fuse human emotion and technical innovation.
Williams’ states, “Sometimes it’s not about selling things. It’s about it existing for the mood.” Even through a screen, the audience can feel the atmosphere present for this show. An almost intimidating aura of determination and urban sophistication seeps into the mind while viewing these pieces. The underground-esque location paired with the hardness and modernity from the collection prepares this new Givenchy customer to ready themselves. This new rebellious chapter for Givenchy ushers in a visual representation of what we’ve all been experiencing emotionally— this along with the already massive celebrity fan base accumulated by Williams’ proves they’re a force to be reckoned with.END
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