Givenchy Bridges the Classical with the Radical in Matthew M. Williams’ Spring Summer 2022 Runway Debut

GLOBAL —In its recent showing, Matthew M. Williams’ Givenchy runway debut explored a mix of luxury and utility, lavishness and austerity, while fusing this dramatically with imperfect beauty and humanity. It points to the distinctly emotional side of the business of luxury and fashion that is sometimes forgotten in its confines; something that Williams is keen for all to partake in, especially in this first live show debut.

Bridging the classical, radical and practical, the silhouettes for both women and men explore the tension between extravagance and discipline, tradition and today, evidenced by material experimentation and construction of the silhouette, combined with an intense contrast in clothing that could only be achieved and exist now.

In the midst of it all, the collection then embraces tradition, the techniques of the salon and timelessness, proving that these distinct elements are not mutually exclusive. True to the Givenchy ethos, both classicism and subversion play a part.

Images by Givenchy via SSI Group, Inc.

Givenchy creative director Matthew M. Williams wrote, “For the Spring-Summer 22 collection, I wanted to build on the tradition of Givenchy’s history while also really looking towards the future. To do this, I worked with people I admire across different disciplines who have truly unique perspectives including the artist Josh Smith, whose iconic work is incorporated throughout the collection, and the musician Young Thug, who created the entire score for the show. The collaboration and this collection offer people a remarkably immersive and special experience.”

With this stratification of eras and influences, Givenchy purposely layered and juxtaposed in looks: traditional masculine tailoring fabrics featured in women’s and menswear, mohair wools, Napa leathers, cotton herringbones and Prince of Wales checks, bonded with neoprene and sculpted in form, applied to both corsets and peplums – drawn from Monsieur de Givenchy’s archive – together with shorts and minis, as well as more conventional suiting.

Raw edges are cleanly sliced and embraced, adding a sense of modernity throughout; delicate Broderie Anglaise is contrasted and exposed, bound in as trim, while tulle and transparencies add lightness, freshness and airy appositions; the urbane savoir-faire of the house and the homespun simplicity of handcraft are brought together in intricate tooling and ‘basket woven’ leatherwork, with macramé and raffia techniques for both clothing and bags.

Images by Givenchy via SSI Group, Inc.

Beside the homespun and handcrafted take on accessories, the new ‘Kenny’ bag – first seen at the Met Gala – is gathered and ornamented with Williams’ characteristic hardware handles and Love Locks. Also making a debut appearance this season is the ‘Neo-Antigona’ – a new take on a much-loved classic – and the men’s latest multifunctional backpack with signature ‘4G’ fastenings.

The foundation of footwear sees further experimentation and evolution in a new approach to the humble, traditional clog in both thigh-skimming and short styles, with an integrated and moulded TPU heel for ultimate ease. While in classical, delicate contrast, women’s sandals are adorned with metallic ‘4G’ detailing. Also seen for the first time is a hardwearing, fully knitted shoe – from upper to sole – another complex experiment in comfort, craft and silhouette for the house under Williams.

An interest in both the radical and the puritanical, of humble and homespun stencilling, printing and crafting, can also be seen in the work of the American artist Josh Smith. Williams worked extensively with Smith to realize designs with his artwork embedded, an effort of true collaboration throughout the collection. Here, the punch of the artist’s colour permeates the traditional Givenchy palette, with transformative, joyful effect, while his work featuring characteristic reapers, pumpkins and various personal ‘totems’ finds unmistakable form in clothing and accessories.

Images by Givenchy via SSI Group, Inc.

Josh Smith says of the collaboration, “Matt showed up in my studio and we started cooking together… we made some delicious things. We burnt some stuff and that tasted good too. Matt took a to-go bag back to Paris and shared all of this with his sharp creative team. This collection is a miracle. The sky is the limit. Thanks for taking a look.”

The score for the Spring Summer 2022 show is by the musician Young Thug. Hailing from Atlanta, Georgia, Young Thug is one of the most influential rappers working today, both an icon for a new generation and an iconoclast beloved of Matthew M. Williams. This soundtrack exclusively features previously unreleased material as well as the debut of unheard tracks from his forthcoming album; “Punk”, to be released on October 15th.

Relive the Givenchy Spring Summer 2022 Show here:

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