I’ve missed out on the last couple of Givenchy collections, but as far as I can see, Matthew M. Williams’ vision of the brand didn’t move anywhere forward. His autumn-winter 2022 offering is a straightforward take on “luxe” streetwear, and doesn’t really deliver any novelties. “I’m interested in making clothes that people wear, and that ease of it, so I guess it was finding those archetypes for today that I found interesting,” he explained before the show. Rendered largely in dark green and black, the collection was a wardrobe composed of the stereotypes that come with the territory, at least from a fashion perspective: layered and tiered T-shirts and sweatshirts with logo graphics in the vein of metal band merchandise; baggy denim trousers and leather tracksuits; and voluminous floor-length pimp coats that floated along the stadium-like structure bathed in the light of four surrounding LED lamps that looked like those used on football fields. In general, it all looks like a mediocre mash-up of Riccardo Tisci’s era Givenchy and early Demna Gvasalia for Balenciaga. Williams mentioned he took a look at the brand’s archives. Drawing on adornments and constructions he found in the house’s archives – from Audrey Hepburn’s pearls to the intricately strapped back of an evening dress – he translated the decorative language of Hubert de Givenchy into the contemporary tropes he was investigating. From eveningwear to day-wear, it materialized in pearl embroideries on jeans, beaded tops used for layering (which later turned into cocktail dresses), and long T-shirts sliced up from the bottom to resemble a kind of garter belt. I wasn’t convinced. Givenchy is a brand that can do much better with such rich history of chic and elegance.
Collage by Edward Kanarecki.