After a three-year-long stint, it has been announced that Matthew M. Williams is leaving Givenchy. Whilst many aren’t all that surprised by the news, the press release shared by the French maison stated that Williams’ exit, on January 1st 2024, is to “fully dedicate himself to the development of his own brand.”
As the release alludes to, and has become evident, Williams transformed a traditional Maison into something new – introducing new audiences to the brand and bringing a distinctly streetwear design approach with him.
The Artistic Director of the brand since 2020, Williams first cut his teeth in the fashion and streetwear scenes. Having designed clothing for Kanye West, consulted for Lady Gaga, rubbed shoulders with Nick Knight and Alexander McQueen, and founded his own fashion line, 1017 ALYX 9SM, his appointment at the house sent shockwaves through the industry.
He succeeded Claire Waight Keller, assuming creative control of both men’s and women’s collections at Givenchy, and has since designed over ten collections for the Maison. Williams represents a new breed of Creative Directors who have worked across the broader arts sector. While not receiving a formal fashion education – having been rejected from Parsons School of Design – Williams was aware of the power of fashion, constructing his identity from a young age.
Using his unique background and fusing them with the long-standing codes of Givenchy, Williams’ tenure moved beyond aesthetics, and plays into the wider repositioning of the Givenchy brand, which was arguably catalysed by Riccardo Tisci – who was the Creative Director of Givenchy from 2005 until 2017.
His last show in Paris was an elevated, delicate womenswear offering that firmly branched out of the ‘streetwear’ box that previous collections had previously been placed in. Utilising the rich history of the French fashion house, SS24 looked through to the foundations of the house through Williams’ signature, culturally-informed lens, seen in oversized tailoring and backless detailing. Streetwear references merely whispered through accessories and occasional changes to the muted colour palette.
It seemed that Matthew M. Williams was embarking on a new era at Givenchy – but murmurs from the seats still speculated that the September show was his last for the House. Until a new creative director is announced, Givenchy’s upcoming collections will be designed by its house studio teams – pushing a “singular and bold vision of elegance.”
More on Culted