Highsnobiety

What is the legacy of the Matthew Williams Givenchy era, which lasted from June 2020 until December 1, 2023?

You could argue that it's one of grungy all-black luxe-meets-street fare epitomized by A$AP Rocky wearing a shredded grey hoodie over a leather skirt (true). You could posit that it's the sheer star power of Williams' tenure, which brought everyone from Ethel Cain to close pal Playboi Carti into the Givenchy orbit (also true).

But I contend that the brightest spark of the Williams tenure was the way that he brought the outsiders inside. Williams' Givenchy wasn't just for the one-percent; it was for the kids who don't often get called up to work with luxury labels, for his friends, for everyone.

Your Highsnobiety privacy settings have blocked this Instagram post.

Matthew Williams made an earnest effort to give young up-and-comers a piece of the pie during his time at Givenchy.

Both cult artist CHITO and Williams' longtime friends at Bstroy got high-profile collaborations, for instance. Music industry figures as red-hot Lancey Foux and cultish as Carti associate Jaylan Tucker got modeling turns.

A rising tide lifts all ships but only if the ships are there in the first place; Williams gave out ships aplenty, even when it was treated almost incidentally.

Your Highsnobiety privacy settings have blocked this Instagram post.

Like, Givenchy's Spring/Summer 2022 collection was ostensibly a showcase for clothes created in collaboration with painter Josh Smith. However, Williams also quietly hired cult-ish DIY savant Shin Murayama to create one-off masks for the runway show.

Murayama's work was so subtly included in Williams' presentation that most publications didn't even know that it was there. But Williams did. And so did anyone who knew what to look for.

Your Highsnobiety privacy settings have blocked this Instagram post.

One of the fun things about Williams' time at Givenchy, actually, was that flurry of IYKYK blink-n-ya-miss-it moments.

Like, only the diehards were seeing Williams and his atelier pop up in the Instagram Stories or tagged photos of buzzy friends like Seventh Heaven founder John Ross and Destroy Lonely, a rapper signed to Carti's Opium label (truly, a friend of Carti is a friend of Williams).

Because it was never done for the 'gram. Williams is friends with these folks and he brought them in on his success.

Your Highsnobiety privacy settings have blocked this Instagram post.

He treated the luxury house as a luxury house, emphasizing the opulent product that he'd been hired to create, but Williams' exuberance for Givenchy was also a shared exuberance.

This was arguably best demonstrated with the sprawling social media campaign that debuted before Williams' first collection hit the runway, wherein a slew of A-listers — the Kim Kardashians, the Anne Hathaways — promoted the creative director's new Givenchy designs free of charge.

Your Highsnobiety privacy settings have blocked this Instagram post.

But, if it was the household names whose pro bono support formed the foundation of Williams' Givenchy, it's the indie talents that Williams nurtured who represent the most optimistic and lingering aspects of Williams' Givenchy.

For Williams' magnanimity represented a trait rarely seen in the industry: inclusion.

I won't sit here and pretend that anyone involved in fashion today has singularly solved the industry's dire lack of representation but Williams' willingness to spread the love to this extent was unusual in a business so reliant on safe bets and household names.

Your Highsnobiety privacy settings have blocked this Instagram post.

Frankly, it was very Virgil Abloh of Williams, to reference one of the designer's oldest friends.

It took Abloh smashing down barriers at Louis Vuitton to open the door for Matthew Williams to continue eroding barriers at Givenchy, admittedly, but to Williams' credit, he upheld a core Abloh tenet and consistently invited youth to sit at fashion's frequently stodgy table.

Your Highsnobiety privacy settings have blocked this YouTube video.

Williams' Givenchy reflected an organic step towards a more considerate fashion industry, one that treats rappers as creative equals, not merely deep-pocketed seat fillers at fashion shows.

Young Thug doesn't just create bespoke soundtracks for the runway of any ol' fashion house; Travis Scott doesn't show up at Cannes wearing a head-to-toe look from any other luxury maison.

And, sure, Williams frequently invites famous friends to model and rep 1017 ALYX 9SM, the luxury label he co-founded with Slam Jam's Luca Benini in 2015. But ALYX operates at a fraction of the scale of internationally recognized luxury label Givenchy.

To be clear, though, Williams didn't roll into Givenchy HQ aiming to simply bless up his pals. He was always business-first.

"The brand and the house is always bigger than the designer," Williams once told Highsnobiety. "This isn’t about me. It’s about doing the best I can for the legacy of [Givenchy]. I care about this company deeply."

Still, you'll notice that I haven't much talked about Williams' actual Givenchy clothes much at all. It's not because the clothes were necessarily bad or even lesser than anything else Williams did — I think anyone would agree that his menswear collections got stronger every season and he was becoming more and more capable of delivering hit accessories, like the surprisingly viral Shark Boots.

Your Highsnobiety privacy settings have blocked this Tiktok.

But Williams' legacy at Givenchy isn't about the clothes. Really — and brands are loathe to admit this — very little in fashion is actually about the clothes. It's about vibes, it's about quarterly reports, it's about splashy launches with open bars and finger food.

Matthew Williams' Givenchy was about the people. The people he thoughtfully invited into his world, both in front of and behind the scenes, epitomize what his time at the house really stood for: a human element so rare in fashion that we only know to miss it when it's gone.

We Recommend
  • Pharrell Williams wearing a big hat
    Louis Vuitton's New Creative Director is also One of the Richest People in Hip-Hop
    • Culture
  • matthew m williams nike alyx
    EXCLUSIVE: Matthew M. Williams on Why His Nike AF1s Aren’t as Simple as They Look
    • Sneakers
  • Nike x 1017 ALYX 9SM collaboration.
    ALYX's Stealthy Nike AF1s Are Keeping a Low Profile
    • Sneakers
  • Matthew Williams is leaving Givenchy.
    Matthew Williams Is Departing Givenchy
    • Culture
  • 1017 ALYX 9SM nike air force 1 low
    1017 ALYX 9SM's New Nike AF1 Lows Are a "Work in Progress"
    • Sneakers
  • Image on Highsnobiety
What To Read Next
  • Image on Highsnobiety
    Anrealage Pumped up a Rare Reebok Sneaker Beyond Recognition
    • Style
  • a model wears a black t-shirt and bag the row's fashion show
    The Row Banned Cell Phones From Its Runway Show. Is That a Good Thing?
    • Style
  • Bradley Cooper & Gigi Hadid seen out in New York wearing streetwear outfits
    Gigi Hadid Stole Bradley Cooper's Streetwear Swag
    • Style
  • Arcteryx's logo on a store in Shanghai
    Inside the Arc'teryx Museum, Where GORE-TEX Jackets Are Art
    • Style
  • itzy x coke
    The Next K-wave is Rising. Are You Ready?
    • Culture
  • Lil Nas X holding Coach handbag in a pastel fantasy world
    Find Your Courage with Coach: imma and Lil Nas X Power Up in Level 1
    • Style
    • sponsored
*If you submitted your e-mail address and placed an order, we may use your e-mail address to inform you regularly about similar products without prior explicit consent. You can object to the use of your e-mail address for this purpose at any time without incurring any costs other than the transmission costs according to the basic tariffs. Each newsletter contains an unsubscribe link. Alternatively, you can object to receiving the newsletter at any time by sending an e-mail to info@highsnobiety.com

Web Accessibility Statement

Titel Media GmbH (Highsnobiety), is committed to facilitating and improving the accessibility and usability of its Website, www.highsnobiety.com. Titel Media GmbH strives to ensure that its Website services and content are accessible to persons with disabilities including users of screen reader technology. To accomplish this, Titel Media GmbH tests, remediates and maintains the Website in-line with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), which also bring the Website into conformance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

Disclaimer

Please be aware that our efforts to maintain accessibility and usability are ongoing. While we strive to make the Website as accessible as possible some issues can be encountered by different assistive technology as the range of assistive technology is wide and varied.

Contact Us

If, at any time, you have specific questions or concerns about the accessibility of any particular webpage on this Website, please contact us at accessibility@highsnobiety.com, +49 (0)30 235 908 500. If you do encounter an accessibility issue, please be sure to specify the web page and nature of the issue in your email and/or phone call, and we will make all reasonable efforts to make that page or the information contained therein accessible for you.