Givenchy Spring 2022 Ready-to-Wear Collection

his January, Matthew M. Williams will show his first haute couture collection for Givenchy. “It’s

his January, Matthew M. Williams will show his first haute couture collection for Givenchy. “It’s been drawn; we’ve just started the toiles,” he revealed during a preview for his first live show with an audience since he joined the house at the start of the pandemic. Underpinned by his couture aspirations, his third ready-to-wear collection was like a release of grandiose proportions: a massive explosion of ideas and ambitions bottled up for too long, until finally, the cork popped.

Inside the gargantuan La Défense Arena, Williams erected a proportionately giant oval light structure in which some 70 models traversed and intersected with military panache. The vastness was Young Thug’s idea. He recorded an original soundtrack for the show (quite catchy), and only a stadium experience would do. “Having everyone see it in real life definitely informed what you’re gonna see today,” Williams said, and his intentions were clear.

Tackling an amplified 1940s silhouette—sculpted shoulders, nipped-in waists—he worked the fabrication and surface decoration of every garment to inextricable degrees, turning up the impact factor of looks so you could literally see the details from across the arena. Scanty bloomers erupted in unyielding ruffles, column dresses were encrusted with thick, rustling mega-sequins, and bolstered bolero jackets took shape through dense micro plissé structures.

“The pieces are really, really worked and complex,” Williams said, his mind clearly in couture world already. In many ways, the collection felt like a precursor to the idea of doing couture. It manifested in zealous design value, which often made for rigid and constricting-looking constructions like knee-high dominatrix clog boots, or tight neoprene tailored jackets harnessed tonally in deconstructed corsetry or implanted with resolute peplums poking out from their hips.

Williams collaborated with New York artist Josh Smith, interpreting his semi-abstract paintings through his own textural lens, working motifs of containers painted with clowns and words into the surface of his signature vulcanized jeans, or those of scary balloon smileys into ripped leggings. “Josh has a much different aesthetic than I have: lots of color and brightness. It was a nice opportunity to emerge out of my comfort zone and explore a new space,” said Williams.

The creative dialogue between the two was expressed most eloquently in a series of Smith’s paintings—which Williams said portrayed the Grim Reaper—adapted into intricate knitwear and leather tops, some overlaid in filters of transparent fabrics printed with similar motifs, creating a kind of illusion within the styling. Those looks were ‘just’ streetwear, but they represented Williams’ passion for texture from its most compelling side. In a time when streetwear designers are becoming couturiers, Williams will do well to use his couture ateliers for poised experimentation like this.

https://www.vogue.com/fashion-shows/spring-2022-ready-to-wear/givenchy