Matthew M.Williams, the 34 years old designer behind the cult brand 1017 ALYX 9SM – simply known as Alyx – is the new Creative Director of Givenchy. Williams announced the good news in a way that perfectly captures his generation, with a vocal message published on the Instagram account of Givenchy. “It’s a lifetime dream gaining such an important role, and it’s surreal that my occasion finally arrived,” commented the designer. Sidney Toledano, CEO of LVMH, says in the press release: “I think that William’s modern vision will represent a great opportunity for Givenchy to start a successful new chapter”.
Williams appointment as the new Creative Director of Givenchy, comes during a difficult time, with the civil right protest still going on all over the world, that influenced even a strict institution like the Academy Awards, that recently made some changes for its eligibility. The designer said that his success was “bittersweet because we’re currently living in unprecedented times and I promise my personal commitment in bringing positive changes both in the fashion industry and the world“.
In 2020, the fashion system is still predominately white. Virgil Abloh, a friend of Williams and Creative Director of Off-White and Louis Vuitton, is an exception. But anyway, Abloh still maintained a neutral position towards the protests that followed the murder of George Floyd.
The choice of Williams for Givenchy seems like a great new start for the brand, he has a style very different from the designer that came before him. Williams is usually associated with a streetwear aesthetic, that gets his inspiration from the hip-hop culture and technical design. Rather than Clare Waight Keller’s romanticism, Williams’s work is closer to Riccardo Tisci, ex-Creative Director of Givenchy, which now works for Burberry. Tisci during his 12 years at Givenchy brought to his collection a streetwear touch, with lots of hoodies and sneakers.
Williams is a self-taught designer and worked with artists such as Lady Gaga and Kanye West before founding Alyx in 2015. His trademark is the roller coaster belt that reminds us of the security belts used on the rollercoaster, and the styling which includes details inspired by motorcycles and hiking style. And streetwear’s popularity is not about to stop any time soon. According to a 2019 report by Price Waterhouse Cooper, the market is valued 145 billion pounds in sales. Williams could attract Millennials and Gen Z into the brand, which should represent 50% of luxury buyers in 2025.