In 2011, Matthew Williams quit his job as Lady Gaga's creative director, and moved to London to work with legendary fashion photographer Nick Knight. Williams worked for as an art director for Knight's SHOWstudio project, and would later go on to found Been Trill with Virgil Abloh and Heron Preston and work on creative direction for Kanye West, before starting 1017 ALYX 9SM in 2014.
Knight and Williams stayed close friends, and continued to collaborate on ALYX's lavish print catalogues. Collector's pieces more than actual catalogue, the publications are printed in Italy on metallic, pearlescent, colored and tracing papers, and combine Knight's spectacular photography with insights into ALYX's inspirations and muses.
“Nick and I have been collaborating on these catalogues since the start of ALYX" Williams explained to Highsnobiety over email. "Initially we made them in place of showing the collections, to present the mood of ALYX. The collaboration has continued through to this most recent one, as they are something that we both just love to create.”
Williams' fondness for printed publications has also seen the designer produce Rotterdam VPU, a limited-edition zine and capsule collection paying tribute to the subculture scene in the Dutch city.
After a two-season hiatus between FW16 and SS18, the ALYX catalogues are back, this time alongside a capsule collection that features Knight's photography on sweaters, tees, wallets and scarves.
Take a look at Williams' zines below, which you can buy now via the ALYX webstore.
Fall/Winter 2015 — "Mother"
FW15's muses were Tallulah and Scout Willis, the children of Bruce Willis and Demi Moore, who were shot by Knight and interviewed by Arena Homme+ editor-in-chief Jo-Ann Furniss. The pair can be seen smoking cigarettes and wearing key pieces from ALYX's collection, which at the time was just a womenswear proposition. The closing pages of Mother introduce the ALYX manifesto: "A foundation built on the undercurrent."
Spring/Summer 2016 — "Special Problems"
Knight and Williams' SS16 collab centered on muse Molly Bair, whose glitter-drenched hands and face were shot alongside ALYX's thigh-high boots and rollercoaster-buckled accessories.
"After meeting Molly for the first time, I instantly loved her attitude and personality" Williams told 032c. "The way she portrays herself on social media felt really honest and free – it was a breath of fresh air amongst so much falseness. She embodies the attitude of an ALYX girl.”
One of the catalogue's inserts featured a conversation between Bair, Williams and his wife, Jennifer, while shots from Bair's Instagram feed are scattered around another insert. In the insert, Bair shares her fondness for Heely's roller shoes, who ALYX would later collaborate with.
Fall/Winter 2016 — "Natural Order"
Stella Lucia was the muse for the FW16 edition of ALYX's print collectibles. The model sported head-to-toe ALYX, of course, as well as masks crafted from T-shirts and cigarettes by Shin Murayama (whose creations were worn by Edison Chen in his cover shoot for Highsnobiety issue #13). No interview this time, although a passage in the catalogue's closing pages swooned "Stella, only Stella, igniting pyrotechnic flora."
Spring/Summer 2018 — "Relentless"
The first ALYX catalogue since the label launched menswear, this issue featured none other than Travis Scott, who Williams first met while working on Kanye West's Yeezus album. Scott and Williams would cross paths again back in the Been Trill days, when Scott linked up with the crew on a woodland camo longsleeve.
For the SS18 catalogue, which coincided with the label's Relentless collection, La Flame was shot in inverted black-and-white by Knight, while wearing a charcoal-grey ALYX suit. The rest of the catalogue centered around motorbikes, an inspiration that comes from Williams' father. ALYX linked with Italian high-performance motor racing manufacturer Spidi, for its Pre-Spring 2017 line.
Read our interview with Williams from issue 14 of Highsnobiety's print magazine.