A few months ago, Givenchy announced their new creative director, Matthew Williams. He took over the world-renowned French fashion house when ex-creative director Clare Waight Keller stepped down in April 2020.
Waight Keller was the first woman appointed as the brand’s artistic director and worked at Givenchy’s helm for three years. During her time as a creative director, she increased the modernity of the clothing with new ready-to-wear collections and brought the brand international fame by creating Meghan Markle’s wedding dress. Waight Keller brought back the class and couture that Givenchy had been missing, but after a few years, she was ready to pass down her position.
Williams is known for his work designing for the music industry. He has styled legends from Lady Gaga to Kanye West, while also running his streetwear line, 1017 Alyx 9SM. The luxury fashion market took a massive hit due to the coronavirus pandemic, but that did not stop Williams from releasing his first Givenchy collection in October. Samples of the collection were released at the highly anticipated digital Paris Fashion Week.
It is evident in his designs that he was paying homage to those who led before him. The brand said that its spring 2021 line “unites the women and men of Givenchy, a symbolic nexus of utility and luxury and the place where this collection began.” Williams blended the modernism of his experience from Alyx with the original tailoring-driven style of Givenchy.
For years, Givenchy catered to an audience that longed for femininity, casual chic and aristocratic elegance. Williams took over and instantly added hardware and utility to the designs, giving the new age of clothing an edgy look. The most significant detail he introduced with his new campaign was the giant, worshipful Givenchy lock, presented as the centerpiece of his collection. Williams describes the lock as a symbol of connectedness, love and his dedication to Givenchy.
The main purpose of introducing this lock was to create a new, more recognizable logo for Givenchy. In the past, the brand’s logo has held little to no importance compared to its competitors. Williams hopes that going forward when someone sees the lock on a campaign or social media post, they immediately recognize the French fashion house.
Creating a consistent brand name is a significant aspect of Givenchy that Williams wishes to change. Unlike other luxury brands, the company’s creative design has never been clearly defined. Without a signature style to base designs on, every creative director has instilled their own design into each collection they made.
When Alexander McQueen was director, he believed that there was no point for Givenchy to continue because there was no uniformity. The brand’s aristocratic founder, Hubert de Givenchy, was known to capitalize off of the glamour of Hollywood, collaborating with classic star Audrey Hepburn. His designs were entirely different from Riccardo Tisci, who defined Givenchy’s brand as edgy streetwear with his famous Rottweiler T-shirts. Waight Keller then took over and gave international fame to the brand with her beautiful couture, a big step away from how Tisci branded Givenchy. Three years later, she handed the torch over to Williams, who is now on a journey to give Givenchy the signature look and brand name it deserves. His new style seems to be branching off of Tisci’s but on a more elevated level. With Williams’s talent, passion and ample experience to pull from, he will create the name that all of Givenchy’s previous directors tried to attain.
“You find the pieces of the puzzle for a collection, building it from symbols and signs, but never forgetting the reality of the person who will wear it and bring it to life. The women and men should be powerful and effortless, equal, and joyful, a reflection of who they really are – only more so. It’s about finding the humanity in luxury.” Matthew M. Williams, Creative Director, Givenchy
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