Givenchy Spring Summer 2021 collection was a highly anticipated one because it is Matthew Williams’ first collection as Artistic Director after the departure of Claire Wright Keller in April this year. This was a co-ed show that included both women’s and men’s ready-to-wear collections, signalling a new format for future seasons. Completed in just two months, Williams referred to the collection as a ‘sampler’ of things to come. He pays homage to Hubert de Givenchy’s archival shapes and tailoring, and other artistic directors in the past. Notable highlights included the Tryp-toe — three-toed, horn-heeled sandals. The horn, which also playfully embellished baseball caps, was a direct reference to Alexander McQueen’s tenure at the house.
Williams then injected into this mix his own brand of material experimentation to sexy, industrial-chic effect. There were painted jeans and denim jackets that were baked to achieve a cracked look. Delicate transparent materials were juxtaposed with metal, with the cutout of one backless dress framed by clusters of charms that looked like piercings.
Hardware is a signature that Williams brought to the house. The Givenchy Antigona, which just celebrated its 10th anniversary, was reimagined by Williams in a number of new forms, and made tougher with metal grommets and embossed leather. The “Love Lock”, inspired by the locks hung on Paris’ Pont des Arts bridge, appeared as a focal point on bags. They were also seen as collectable charms on belts and bold jewellery. The Givenchy “G” was extensively used to form chunky link chains in belts, necklaces and bag straps. The accessories in the collection were mostly intended to be gender neutral, such as the new Antiogona ‘Cut out’ bag collection. For this shape, Williams wanted to represent the negative space of the Antigona’s iconic upside down triangle tag.
Matthew Williams has had a fascinating career before arriving at the house of Givenchy. Following his first foray into costume design in 2007 when he created a jacket for Kanye West for the Grammy Awards, he went on to design costumes for Lady Gaga, and then to launch his brand, 1017 Alyx 9SM in 2015. The success of the brand saw him shortlisted for LVMH Prize in 2016, and undertook a number of high profile collaborations, including with Dior for its Spring Summer 2019 accessories line.