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Givenchy's first show under Matthew Williams

The brand's minimal techno revolution

Givenchy's first show under Matthew Williams The brand's minimal techno revolution

It would be difficult to define what was Matthew Williams' real debut at Givenchy. Choosing to present a first part of the collection in the showroom, and then accompany it to an extensive seeding campaign with celebrities from half the world, followed by a real campaign, followed in turn by the Givenchy FW21 show held yesterday, the feeling is that we've finally shaken hands with a person we've met only unofficially. Williams himself has no doubt, and speaking to the press at the brand's historic Paris headquarters, he said: «It does feel like that [a real debut, ed] just because it’s a runway show».

To hit the mark, Williams directed a fashion show that is a concentrate of his aesthetic: a Robert Hood techno soundtrack, blinding spotlights, a rain-soaked concrete venue that looks like the perfect scene for an illegal rave (but it's actually the Paris La Défense Arena) and, of course, a flurry of top models led by Bella Hadid. 

The show certainly gives a more precise aesthetic frame to Williams' vision for the brand that, for the next winter season, has continued the meeting/clash of the brand's sartorial tradition with utility elements and, above all, accessories. Hardware and accessories are perhaps the designer's favourite area and bags with a corner or hyper-essential shapes, huge chains, water bottle holders, hats and gloves have dominated most looks – the highlight, however, is a modular backpack inspired by the equipment of firefighters whose pieces can be assembled to change its size. The actual clothing has re-proposed, with additions and enrichments, the same aesthetic as the previews of a few months ago, greatly accentuating the tactility of the materials, the purity of colours and the "sharp" aesthetic of Williams that has become less essential and more capricious in the asymmetrical hems of skirts and in the appliques of crystals. 

As always, Williams' vision was able to give a unitary body to a set of disparate but sometimes very obvious influences: that heel-clog present at the feet of almost every model reminded far away of Alexander McQueen's legendary Armadillo Boot, certain fusions of Militar-utilitarian aesthetics and bondage come perhaps from Helmut Lang while other influences came from the world of Raf Simons and Martin Margiela. From all these languages and inspirations, however, Williams has drawn a vision of luxury that seems more personal than derivative and that, developed in the right direction, will not fail to assert itself very much in the wardrobes of the planetary jet-set.