Matthew M. Williams’ Givenchy is a Techno-Futurist’s Fashion Dream

Remember that friend who bleached their hair last March and never looked back? Well, Givenchy has undergone a similarly radical reinvention under new creative director Matthew M. Williams, whose buzzy collection is ready to take this summer by storm. 

Last June, when the Parisian house announced the bleached-haired designer Williams as its new creative director, the subtext was “buckle up — this is going to be good”. At his own label, Alyx, Williams had already led fashion lovers on many an exhilarating joy ride, skillfully unlocking the seat belt buckle’s runway potential with his fully-rigged belts and bags.

His early work for Givenchy feels just as ready for action — each look is undeniably slick, confident, and in control. But while Williams’s clothing for Givenchy definitely maintains hist work’s signature sense of command, it also sees him move in a different direction, articulating a new kind of authority that’s derived from high glamour.

Hollywood has been quick to take notice. At the Golden Globes, both Gal Gadot and Laura Dern wore sophisticated Givenchy couture looks anchored by bold choker necklines. John Boyega, meanwhile, Zoomed into the affair wearing a cream tuxedo jacket worn over a white shirt dotted with black pinhole-sized buttons that managed to make an outsize impact even over a webcam feed. Viewers at home ended the broadcast understanding two things: that they needed to watch Small Axe immediately, and that the Williams-led Givenchy is a brand that brings edgy, unexpected details to the traditional uniforms of big nights out. 

Of course, the reinvented brand’s boldest fashion statement had actually been made a few weeks earlier. When The Weeknd took the stage at the Superbowl (the ultimate big night out), he did so in a crimson red jacket hand-embroidered with crystals over the course of 250 hours. Looking nothing less than equipped with elegance, the end result was another luxe translation of Williams’s obsession with intriguing embellishments. (See also: that seat belt buckle phase.)

Which brings us to Williams’s debut season for Givenchy, a collection defined as much by shirts, suits, and boots as it is by inventive elements like chain link necklaces, belts strung with chunky metal locks, and metal canteens hung from thin leather straps. The corresponding ad campaign — starring Playboy Carti, Bella Hadid, Anok Yai, and Kendall Jenner in a selection of gear-heavy ensembles — drives home the big takeaway: it’s time to go hard on hardware.

All of this to say, now that we’re finally able to get our own hands on Givenchy’s SS21 offerings, we’ve pledged to build our entire post-pandemic wardrobe around William’s visionary work. Thankfully, both Holt Renfrew and SSense are fully stocked and ready to help us plan our eventual return to safe summer nightlife. And in the meantime? Givenchy’s fashions even prove exciting enough to bring some much-needed spark to your upcoming Zoom appearances. Just ask John Boyega.

The Sharp Edit

Four Givenchy SS21 standouts that we’ve already added to our carts (and closets):

Black GIV 1 Sneakers

Technical and tasteful, these grained calfskin, nubuck, and mesh sneakers are the de facto footwear of the future. $1,355 at SSENSE

Givenchy Black GIV 1 Sneakers

Wool Boxy Jacket with Padlock

Classic enough to be a versatile staple, but with a distinctive padlock detail that brings a new sense of intrigue to the age-old blazer. $4,085 at Holt Renfrew

Wool Boxy Jacket with Padlock

Straight-fit Jeans with Zippers

The combination of cracked-effect painted denim and zippers show you’re weathered — in the suave, rugged kind of way. $1,380 at Holt Renfrew

Givenchy Straight-fit Jeans with Zippers

Small Antigona Leather Crossbody Bag

This shiny calfskin messenger bag is ready to hold all manner of gear, from your smartphone to your headphones. $1,935 at SSENSE

Givenchy Small Antigona Leather Crossbody Bag