The grainy glamor of children, hanging around train tracks and tagging random things in graffiti, is a particular ideal for those who grew up in the 1990s. It’s an archetype that Matthew M. Williams, 35, knows him well, and whose seduction has never left him. These kids were cool, their style seemed effortless even if it wasn’t at all; it looked like they were living on the edge when, probably, they still had to be home for supper. The creator’s spring film for Givenchy sparked that nostalgia. Projecting the badass’ 90s teen sensibility onto the luxury scene, Williams portrayed a crass teenage attitude through Givenchy’s polished, hyper-polished Parisian lens.
Shot in a train station that you wouldn’t associate with the City of Light, the film interweaves images of the replica of the Statue of Liberty in the French capital and the Eiffel Tower, thus linking the creator’s American origin and the Parisian persuasion of Givenchy. Looking for ways to unite the two, Williams enlisted the help of Chito, an airbrush artist born in Seattle, Mexico, to create illustrations for the collection. They had been executed by hand – and will also be in production, but not by the artist himself – respecting the craftsmanship practices of the house. Evocative of graffiti art, Chito’s designs manifested as cartoonish or emoji-like characters with a certain Mexican sensibility about them.
Raised in California, Mexican culture was a natural part of Williams’ childhood. “Chito is Mexican-American, like most of my friends who have grown up. It’s something in my education that I appreciate and really admire, ”he said during a meeting in the Givenchy showroom in Paris. The airbrush, he explained, “is perfect for me because growing up I used to go to auto shows with my dad. There would always be airbrushing on the cars, and you would have these commemorative t-shirts made. For Williams, the injection of childhood memories served to warm the austerity of its industrial aesthetic, while retaining the counter-cultural harshness of the spirit of the collection.
The artwork, which featured throughout the collection, on backpacks and on Rimowa luggage, entered a natural conversation with the intricate textures, material and industrial graphics that define both the designer’s work. at Givenchy and its own brand Alyx. The tailored jackets come with large square velcro closures; a half-and-half blazer with a hard-bottomed mesh panel was so sturdy it sat like a corset, and the spider web tops offered a hand-spun alternative to Williams’ metal mesh cage dresses. .
He used a varsity jacket transformed into a small bolero to illustrate the house’s dialogue with America past and present. “The house has a historic connection to America,” said Williams, referring to Hubert de Givenchy’s influence on Hollywood, “and it’s the elements of America that are very inherent to me, with an elegance from Paris.” The most tantalizing was her jewelry. Inspired by Chito’s designs, it took the form of chunky prayer rings and necklaces with colorful pendants that looked like something out of a candy store or a spooky fun fair, depending on the shade of your glasses.