You might be on fence with Matthew M. Williams‘ style and aesthetic, but you’ve got to admit one thing: this guy knows how to shake up a brand and make present it all over the place (even if that revamp isn’t overly ground-breaking). Talking about his first pre-collection for Givenchy, he evaded questions of the specific visual references that may have inspired it, choosing instead to focus on nerdy things like cuts and fabrication. No mood-boards here. “I don’t really work like that, actually. I’m more on the body, touching materials. Sometimes there’ll be imagery that inspires things, but it’s very instinctual,” he told Vogue. Williams is emblematic of a new wave of designers for whom fashion is often less about producing the flashy statement piece than about perfecting the unassuming wardrobe staple – of course, with an endlessly-studied twist. “What I find exciting is often things I would wear myself,” as Williams said. “As somebody who shops, if I’m buying a suit and I want to wear a t-shirt with the suit instead of a button-up, I want that brand to have a nice t-shirt for me to wear.” His new collection for Givenchy proposes a series of wardrobe staples subverted through his soft-versus-aggressive lens. A classic letterman jacket chopped into a bolero and realized in a super luxe, tonal red knitwear; a rather normal long-sleeved black day dress hacked up at the waist like a little piece of architecture; business-ready blazers with complex lapel and collar structures seemingly morphing in and out the fabric. “For me, it’s really finding that tension between my real world – how I wear clothes on a daily basis – with this magical dream world of the maison,” he said. The knitted, slightly figure-hugging dresses continued to outline his womenswear silhouette for Givenchy, which debuted in his first line-up, while silk leggings and EVA-soled suede sliders represented the elevated sportswear element of the collection. Interestingly, Williams’s take on Givenchy isn’t too sporty. “I do wear suits,” he reiterated. “It feels more like me.” Of course, that’s not to say that a generous amount of logos – another pillar of the social media generation – didn’t find their way into the collection. This kind of makes Williams’ vision feel like Riccardo Tisci’s logo-heavy Givenchy off-spring. Williams latticed a lace dress in Givenchy’s archival four-G logo, embossed them on bags and forged them in bag chains. Well. While every fashion magazine has a new Givenchy special in it, 500 million people were reached in October with the brand’s social media campaign featuring everyone from Kim Kardashian to Julianne Moore, and first designs designed by Matthew are hitting the stores, time will show if that “perfect” recipe actually works.
Collage by Edward Kanarecki.