When you look at the Givenchy looks or the massive double-tiered light structure that they were exhibited on, the word “simplicity” isn’t the first word that comes to mind. There was, however, a newfound straightforwardness to Matthew M. Williams’s second runway proposal for the house, which felt a little more streamlined than previous seasons. The designer noted before the presentation that he was interested in “creating clothes that anyone can wear and that are simple to make.” “I guess it was finding those archetypes for today that I found interesting,” he said before the exhibition.
A primarily streetwear-focused wardrobe comprised of the stereotypes that come with the territory, at least from a fashion perspective, the collection was rendered primarily in dark green and black and featured 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.
According to Williams, “it’s a visual language of light that we have been developing for the program.” “For me, it’s all about getting into an arena; that’s the overarching tone.” After working as a creative director in the music industry, he finds a way to express himself through the grand gestures of music videos and concert settings.
He conveyed this message with his pulsating and fairly stimulating soundtrack (which he said was intended to be light), his huge La Défense venue, which many show-goers despise due to the 45-minute drive required to get there, and his natural dialogue between sportswear and eveningwear.
He transferred the decorative language of Hubert de Givenchy into the current tropes he was studying by drawing inspiration from adornments and constructions he discovered in the house’s archives—from Audrey Hepburn’s pearls to the delicately clasped back of an evening dress. It manifested itself in the form of pearl embroideries on jeans, beaded tops that were used for layering (and later transformed into cocktail dresses), and long T-shirts that were cut up from the bottom to mimic a kind of garter belt, among other things.
“It’s right around the corner. “I work in a really instinctive way,” Williams explained. That was evident in the black fabric gloves he wore backstage and during his bow, as well as the balaclavas that were prominently displayed throughout the presentation. “Because folks have been using masks while working with Covid, I’ve been looking at these balaclavas and gloves for that purpose. Almost like a new archetype that people are incorporating into their daily lives. They are worn by a large number of children of friends of mine in the United States.” At Givenchy, one could argue that Williams was simply reflecting our current culture’s everyday attitude to clothing on a runway that was elevated to a higher level.
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