It's finally here: Matthew M. Williams official runway debut for Givenchy. After having to debut and show the past few collections under remote settings, the Givenchy spring/summer 2022 runway show was the first full taste of a Williams production, complete with a live audience. And it was hardly a disappointment.
Young Thug provided the music to the entire show—a mix of previously unreleased tracks as well as songs from his upcoming album—while artist Josh Smith helped amp up the contemporary vision of the collection in the form of artfully done prints. Although at times, they did resemble too much of the collaboration with Chito for spring 2022, Smith's works helped push Williams out of his comfort zone of hard and edgy blacks. Finally, this was a collection where there were more than just one colour narrative.
Most importantly, the inclusion of colours didn't seem forced. In fact, Williams kicked off the collection with a slew of black looks done in his typical sleek and cutting fashion accented by utility-driven design elements. It was from there that Givenchy's more signature tailoring began making appearances but refashioned as more modern interpretations—raw-edged, bonded to neoprene for heftier silhouette, and more in order to create a sense of contemporary freedom. There were even nods to Riccardo Tisci's time at the fashion house with the play in urban layering.
It was certainly a marked evolution from when Williams first began with spring/summer 2021. And in such a short time, there seems to be an understand of where and how Givenchy can once again be relevant and desired.
Look and feel: Like most of his work—both for Givenchy and his own label 1017 ALYX 9SM—there was a great mix of tailoring and streetwear-leaning ready-to-wear pieces. Tailored pieces acted as blank canvasses from which additional layers of more contemporary pieces (not that the former were staid and boring though) were added on. While his previous outings for the fashion house could be said to be too emotionless, the spring/summer 2022 collection was more emotive in execution—the looks were still as cuttingly sharp but there's a sense of grounded realism. This was a collection that I could see a man on the street putting on and still having his own personality shine through, instead of projecting an unnecessarily cold demeanour.
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Favourite looks: Look 7's subtle nod to Tisci's impactful work at Givenchy was brilliantly done without looking like a blatant rehash. It's also a fine example of how Williams's tailoring has evolved at Givenchy—less rigid and cold. Then there's the crafty look 39 that grabbed attention with its masterful knot-work on a hoodie. And for a taste of Smith's touch, I'm leaning towards the slashed-up crew necks, particularly in look 60. Against a foundation of black, Smith's print stood out and was given proper visual space, especially with the asymmetric cut. And those yellow calf-high boots and matte black oversized chain necklace didn't hurt either.
Favourite accessories: This may be a peculiar choice but I'm particularly drawn to the collection's fully knitted slip-on sneakers. As seen on look 21, the pair is completely knitted from sole to upper in seamless fashion with a profile that's chunky and futuristic but tad more streamlined than the clog-like offerings of autumn/winter 2021. There are even variations with laces (looks 4, 28 and 55) but the one in look 21 stood out for its super clean aesthetic.