Within the global recession that currently plagues a vast majority of industries, fashion is not exempt. Foreseeing factory closures, shipping delays or cancellations, as-well as various positions within the industry rendered mute, not much is to look forward to, nor be expected.
The recent economic and social climate has not bred much of creativity as to the industry; from FaceTime coordinated photoshoots, to banal, lifeless, digitally displayed runway shows. The essence of the fashion industry hangs in the balance. Raf Simons’ working in conjunction with Prada, is the closest premonition of a ‘breath of fresh air’ the fashion industry has witnessed for a significant period of time, until now. Matthew Williams has been recently named Creative Director of Givenchy.
Matthew Williams, although having only founded 1017 ALYX 9SM in 2015, is by no means a newcomer to the industry. Williams’ past collaborations truly exemplify his diverse nature of work, these include the likes of Virgil Abloh, Kanye West and Lady Gaga. If these examples do not characterise the designer’s varied success enough, then it is important to recognise that he is only 35 years old, having rapidly surfaced with a brand that expands upon Helmut Lang’s once adored aesthetic and, has made it more palatable to a vast majority of an ever-surfacing audience… a new streetwear and high-fashion amalgamation.
It goes without saying that Matthew Williams is (for the most part) adored by critics (such as Eugene Rabkin) and by contemporary fans. This reality of being widely accepted, allows Williams to truly break into this new era of fashion, without a fear of failure in the currently unstable industry, in this time in-which creative risks may pay off more than ever before.
A reality which further cements Williams as not just a gimmick, is the fact that he brings to Givenchy, what Tisci could not. Beyond the cool kid image, highlighted by his friendships with Hadid, Gaga and West, the designer not only communicates with, but gravitates toward youth, just as Hedi Slimane worked into the foundation of Saint Laurent and Dior.
While traditional admirers of couture will most-likely mock another high-end fashion house for reducing itself to ‘pop culture’, this strategic move is not only one to combat the struggles of a pandemic, it serves as a pivotal turning point for the industry. Such a turning point is embellished with references to traditional couture but is ultimately aiming to transverse the traditional subculture of fashion, into a brand-new form of pop culture.
Ironically, in a way, Givenchy arguably was one of the first houses to ever see and welcome a blend of streetwear and high-end fashion. A field, once a bourgeois-laden haven of sensible and luxurious ideals of formality, has now actively transgressed. The first collection of Williams’ under the Givenchy house of Paris, is set to debut in October this year.
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