Riff hard

Givenchy FW22: Matthew Williams brings couture to the street
By Bailey Slater | Fashion | 7 March 2022

“I really wanted to create a synthesis of powerful, sophisticated femininity, with an interplay of multiple American and Parisian influences, sports and craftsmanship,” Matthew M. Williams declared of his striking FW22 Givenchy collection. “Next to her stands a contemporary man with an instinct for chic nonchalance. On the runway, both are grounded by a sense of reality.”

Reaching further back into the Givenchy archive, the American designer’s idea of everyday luxury seeks to unite Hubert De Givenchy’s understated haute couture, with its intricate detailing and flattering cuts, with a sensibility of the shapes and layered styles of the streetwear realm. From spliced-up tees giving the brand’s moniker a twisted rejuvenation under the guise of a metal band, to supple, full-length wrap skirts held in place by three small buttons, Williams’ future vision for the house is one undoubtedly reliant on the staples of classic luxury that made Givenchy a household name.

Colour was subtle, save for one dress in blazing canary yellow, riffing on a dark and foreboding palette that lent on murky purples and reserved greens. But that didn’t mean glamour would have any trouble abounding from dishevelled ruffled skirts and faded jeans, slouched to the wayside in swooping trouser legs. One shimmering pearl mini brought enough extravagance for 30 collections, fringed at the hem with, you guessed it, more pearls: these were larger, more bulbous – possibly scalped from Audrey Hepburn’s Breakfast At Tiffany’s get-up – a glamorous motif that found itself ripped from the neck and repurposed into a legion of punky studs, replicated for maximum impact.

Large sequin gowns had the same effect, sidling up to cosy turtleneck knits and baggy hoodies as if they were old school friends. And it’s in this way Williams shows the future is never about killing off the old guard, it’s about welcoming it to the present.

GALLERYCatwalk images from Givenchy WOMENS-FALL-WINTER-22