As the GIVENCHY Spring/Summer 2024 men’s show unveiled, it was like stepping into the creative lab of Matthew M. Williams, the American designer who has been commanding the reins of GIVENCHY since June 2020. Having sprung from the heart of the luxury streetwear scene, the brains behind the acclaimed 1017 Alyx 9SM label, Williams arrived at GIVENCHY amid much anticipation. Yet, he refrained from merely riding the waves of hype, instead sculpting GIVENCHY into a connoisseur brand, his signature influence infusing it with a unique brand of quiet luxury.
It wasn’t a typical fashion parade loaded with glamour and sequins, rather, it was a tasteful ensemble of meticulously designed apparel. Williams’ designs may seem devoid of fashion fireworks at first glance, yet they enclose within them a richness of detail that communicates a refined and sublime sense of luxury.
Notably, the collection featured plain white windbreakers that surprisingly exuded a formal, luxurious flair. Upon inquiry, Williams revealed a secret: these windbreakers were double-faced, employing a laborious technique traditionally used for crafting tailored cashmere outerwear. Williams recounted it as a joyful experiment, resulting in lightweight, semi-transparent garments that “flowed in a really nice way”. He reflected on the innovation, stating “maybe a lot of people wouldn’t notice it or care. It’s just nice for me,” displaying his sincere passion for fashion, construction, and exploration of new horizons.
Set against the majestic backdrop of the Hôtel National des Invalides courtyard, the show pulsed with a royal grace. Williams exhibited an effortless flow through various fashion archetypes: from laid-back tailoring, reminiscent of school uniforms, to couture-quality formalwear tinged with military notes. This spectrum of designs showcased his methodical approach, rejecting seasonal themes or narratives in favor of fashion archetypes.
A pleasing fluidity was observed in his full-legged trousers draped over hefty dress shoes or his latest lowrider sneakers. The minimalist, sharp-shouldered tuxedos and sleeveless jumpsuits for the evening echoed a stringent discipline. Branding was hushed, almost whispered through a discreet script embroidery on a contracted blouson. The designer’s penchant for hardware was seen in the form of flat silver studs sprinkled across a technical parka and trousers, and oversized grommets gracing white tees, simultaneously providing ventilation and an unexpected visual impact.
In the realm of Williams’ GIVENCHY, the luxury is not ostentatious, but a whisper in the crowd. It’s a knowing nod to those in the loop – a quiet language spoken among those who recognize quality over noise. This show was a testament to Williams’ commitment to producing high-quality, intricate designs that appeal to those with a discerning eye for luxury. It’s a luxury that is not just seen, but understood and felt. As Williams said, “if you know, you know,” and those in the know, will certainly be waiting for his next move.
© Photos: GIVENCHY
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