Matthew M. Williams’ Givenchy SS24 womenswear show was a sensual exploration of feminine dressing and an equilibrium between old and new. Previously, the creative director looked to his enviable streetwear experience. However, for his latest collection, we saw the designer take us in a new direction.
A star-studded front row was joined by an army of fashion professionals who rubbed shoulders under a draped canopy designed by Gabriel Calatrava’s New York City-based Collaborative Architecture Laboratory, which served as the perfect neutral backdrop for Givenchy’s latest fashion showcase.
Williams’ took to the helm in 2020 as creative director of both women’s and men’s collections, with his work for the brand now a highlight of the fashion season. Rappers, singers, and skaters pulled up in support this season, including Cher, Evan Mock, Jarred Leto, Madelyn Cline, Dove Cameron, Sabrina Carpenter and Tyga, reflective of the creative director’s immense pulling power across the creative sector.
While previous collections have seen the 1017 ALYX 9SM founder draw on his formative experiences across fashion and music, SS24 looked into Givenchy’s archives. Founded in 1952 by Hubert de Givenchy, the brand is famed for producing standout designs such as the baby doll dress, tailored separates and sleek evening dresses.
This history was woven into Williams’ latest collection for the brand, which looked to the foundations of the house through his signature, culturally-informed lens, seen in oversized tailoring and backless detailing. However, unlike previous shows, streetwear references were less obvious. Instead, they whispered through accessories and occasional changes to the muted colour palette.
The first looks revealed a restrained and detail-driven approach, as models were dressed in black boxy, oversized blazers with tapered knee-length skirts. A crisp white t-shirt peaked from beneath the rigid tailoring, worn with black tights and stilettos in a look that served as the blueprint for further deconstruction throughout the collection.
Next, models wore dainty dresses that hung from their shoulders using thin satin straps. Sheer fabrics partially covered the wearer’s midriff and thighs, finishing with an asymmetrical hem. Calf-length lace socks and tights were worn over the top of heels to further the sleek, sensual exploration as undergarments turned into outerwear, contorting the visual profile of the stiletto.
Later, we saw a sexy combination of the first looks as a boxy gabardine overcoat reflected a move from day to night, loosely buttoned from the collar, which revealed thigh-high mesh stockings with each stride, elevated with a boxy leather handbag to finish the sultry look.
At this point, the colour palette broadened to include off-white dresses finished with printed pastel blue lilies and black ruched detailing. Models wore lace gloves, which ended above the elbow, as a poignant reference to Givenchy’s haute roots.
While the collection felt like a refined exploration of tradition, it was cautiously punctuated with modern accessories, nodding to Williams’ previous designs, specifically at 1017 ALYX 9SM. A standout silver bag with a polished chain and chrome detailing was worn over the shoulder, bringing a contemporary edge to the otherwise pared-back collection. Rounded rectangular-framed sunglasses were seen in numerous outfits, working alongside bulbous earrings in both silver and gold to accessorise further.
For SS24, Matthew M. Williams took us by surprise, skipping the obvious streetwear references seen in previous collections and instead opting for a sensual, stripped-back affair. Being both sophisticated and sexy, with later nodding to the codes of the Maison further, we saw a repositioning of the Givenchy brand with Williams’ at the helm.
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