During his short stint at Givenchy, Matthew Williams made bold, on-trend shoes a strong part of his silhouettes, and his spring runway took that to a new zenith.
Men and women have trod a sprawling white oval at Paris La Défense Arena in striking thigh-high boots with bulbous, hoof-shaped soles that are sure to seduce, especially in unusual tones like mauve or kelly green.
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The creator has been deprived of a lead since arriving at Givenchy in June 2020 and he zealously approached him, enlisting American rapper Young Thug for an exclusive soundtrack and building a gigantic dome-shaped light that hovered above the catwalk like a giant sun.
He wanted to highlight all the colors of the collection, the result of a collaboration with the American artist Josh Smith, known for his semi-abstract works with watery brushstrokes, as well as grainy and macabre ceramics.
Backstage ahead of the show, Williams, the American designer behind 1017 Alyx 9SM label and a leading player in the luxury streetwear scene, confessed that color is not his usual wheelhouse. Still, he absorbed the wide, almost psychedelic palette that Smith employs for his paintings of palm trees and the Grim Reaper.
These ominous paintings appeared late in the show, reproduced on a high-intensity workmanship sweater and wispy anoraks. Their bohemian spirit was like an unsolved detour from all the sleek neoprene suits.
Basques were the main design statement for women, springing from fitted, cropped jackets and sometimes trimmed with dyed English embroidery, as if the clothes had been decorated with icing. The knit mini dresses echoed the shape, bursting with ruffles at the hem.
Williams put the brakes on the material somewhat, showing only a few tight-waisted jackets with padlock closures and less heavy chains than normal. Backstage before the show, he pointed out small metal knick-knacks and junk, collected at Smith’s Brooklyn studio, which were made into more delicate rings or necklaces. “It was a very involved collaboration,” he said.
The men’s looks were very confident, including the square zip jackets, beautiful leathers and rubbery raincoats.
The designer always seems to be on the hunt for a great place for women’s clothing, and he’s bound to find it in Givenchy’s tailoring workshop, given his intense interest in making things.
For this show, he brought in the blur ray to create ethereal dresses with pleat sprays at the hips and sexy lingerie-like bodices. These looked like something new under this great artificial sun.
Launch gallery: Givenchy RTW Spring 2022