Matthew M. Williams presents the Givenchy fall winter 2023 collection in Paris.
A new formality. A modification of dress codes. An advancement of classics. For the Fall Winter 2023 Men’s COllection, Givenchy re-evaluates and re-values the archetypes of menswear through the eyes of contemporary masculinities. In the art-driven community surrounding him, Artistic Director Matthew M. Willimas identifies an instinctive evolution of sartorial virtues reflected in his relationship with clothes. It is an appreciation for the traditional values of menswear revitalized by the impulse to adapt them to suit a modern-day mentality: a dressing culture founded in individual ideas of formality, ease, and confidence.
The reflection of individuality manifests in a study of the bespoke, practically and proverbially: archetypes deconstructed and reconstructed as a proposal for the multi-faceted characters who’ll wear them. The premise echoes in a soundtrack composed and recorded for the show by the British indie rock musician Bakar in the days leading up to its unveiling. Presented within an optical white box, the collection highlights the technical and artisanal approaches employed in transforming garments and accessories, magnifying the radical cutting, complex fabric treatments, and intricate surface decorations that underpin the process.
The customization of dress codes takes form in tailoring – including four black suits created in the Haute couture atelier – defiantly unhemmed as the seams, allowing for an unraveling process that elongates the physique. The technique triggers a study of volumes that spill out – disobeying the tucked-in tradition – in looks layered to achieve the maximum effect of the idea. They are created with cropped sweatshirts, or delicate jerseys pulled tightly over baggy sportswear layers to define an elegant silhouette. Along the way, the patterned tropes of Americana abound plaids, camouflage, flames denim, bleached canvas, grey marl, neons, and teenage pastels.
The unpicking of classic shapes elicits a reconstruction of workwear expressed in cargo trousers spontaneously hacked open and transformed into skirts worn over sweatpants, reverberated in tartan kilts and boilers suits left undone. The look conjures a fly-on-the-wall 1960s photograph of Hubert de Givenchy in a jumper effortlessly tied around his jeans like a skirt, further fuelling how you wear things: self-expression through the imbuement of personal gestures into clothes. It inspires sweatshirts deconstructed to hang around the waist, embraced by their sleeves. A generational evening silhouette that paves the way for a new formality: an austere all-sweats occasion suit styled with said sweat-skirt.
Throughout, the archetypes of the workwear wardrobe are hacked with exuberant motifs. From faux snakeskin to cheetah print and imitated wolf, they invoke the explosions of pattern and texture found within Hubert de Givenchy’s otherwise classic private interiors. The materials scratch the surface of fabric experimentation employed as another way of evolving traditional menswear codes: Japanese boro stitching reconstructs denim, a hoodie is hand-plummed on a 4F gride structure, the tonic colors of metallic flight suits in polyurethan-coated nylon are achieved through painstaking garment dyes, the yellow paint of the back of a sheepskin flight jacket comes through its distressed front, and the institutional herringbone of Harris tweed greatcoats is intercepted with purple effects.
Bags adapt archival women’s shapes in a conversation of code-switching: Pandora A Holdall is relaxed in construction in a sling-over shoulder dimension or a man-bag cropped under the arm and interpreted in the collection material. These echo in a Voyou messenger bag with strap detailing created in an enlarged proportion or a very minimized edition whose faux fur spills out of the lining. The idea is re-evoked in gloves, complemented by sculptural rings. Shoe zone in on archetypes: a magnified work boot in leathers and washed canvas; a formal shoe morphed with a cowboy boot in leather, patent of faux snakeskin; wellingtons altered with carbon fiber embossed leather; and the TK-MX trainer updated in the materials of the collection.