An energetic new generation of star designers

the new creative director of Givenchy

Matthew Williams won’t turn on his webcam. It is, he apologises, because he’s not feeling Zoom ready; his hair must not be perfectly swept back, and I’d like to imagine he has swapped his monochrome chic for tracksuit bottoms.

“I’ve been taking care of my kids this morning and I’m in dad mode,”he explains.

The 35 year old designer leads a life of contrasts. One day he’ll be taking daughters Alyx, seven, and Valetta, four, to Disneyland Paris he in shredded streetwear, they in candy pink dresses and tap shoes. The next, we could find him out for dinner in New York with close friends such as rapper, designer and sometime presidential hopeful Kanye West and designer Virgil Abloh.

Williams is the creative director of the Milan based luxury streetwear label Alyx (named after his elder daughter) as well as a Moncler Genius collaborator (this month’s drop represents his third collection for the storied outerwear brand). He is also, since June, the creative director of Givenchy, and now divides his time between apartments in Paris and Milan as well as London, where his daughters live with his ex wife Jennifer, the former sales director at Alyx, from whom he was divorced this year.

Givenchy’s appointment of Williams the first American at the Parisian house founded in 1952 by Hubert de Givenchy is symbolic of a wider changing of the guard in fashion right now. An energetic new generation of star designers cheap replica handbags , including Williams”friends Kim Jones (41, at Fendi and Dior Men) and Abloh (40, at Louis Vuitton Men and Off White) is shaking things up. “It feels amazing,”Williams says, “when you go for your dream and then it actually comes true.”

The aesthetic Williams delivers at all of the labels he works with is densely layered: industrial materials and streetwear silhouettes are mixed with expensive reptilian textures and copious crystals. In his latest Moncler collection, Williams reinvents the puffer jacket in forms that are sometimes high gloss bomb disposal squad, sometimes astronaut. In short, there is always a lot to talk about.

His greatest infatuation is with Fake Louis Vuitton Replica Bags hardware. One of his design signatures is the rollercoaster seatbelt buckle, which he introduced at Alyx, and which now also fastens the coats at Moncler. At Givenchy, his first collection was punctuated with “lovers’ locks”, replica louis vuitton bags inspired by those that are hooked by tourists on to Paris bridges attached now to bags and evening gowns. “Hardware makes clothes unique,” he says. “Inspiration can be found anywhere.”

Raised as a skateboarder in the Californian town of Pismo Beach, Williams had no formal design training and instead learnt on the job at denim company Corpus, where he worked from the age of 19.

“I started design and production at the same time, where I think a lot of people design without ever learning how to actually make the high quality replica handbags china clothes,”he says. “I realised early on that each category of clothing is its own world. It takes a lifetime to master each: denim is a world; knitwear is one; leather, tailoring and so on. I found that so exciting. I thought Perfect Quality Louis Vuitton Replica , this is an industry I’m never going to get bored in.”

His life changed in 2008 when his friend, singer Stefani Germanotta, was looking for someone to design stage costumes for a new persona she was trying out under the name of Lady Gaga. They first met by chance in a Los Angeles sushi restaurant with mutual friends in 2008, and dated briefly before they became creative collaborators.

“She knew that I could make clothing and she Designer Louis Vuitton Replica Handbags needed some costumes,”Williams explains. “This was six months before any of her music was released, thenJust Dancetook off and I started working for her full time.”

Dedicated Gagapedia websites will tell you that Williams was known as “Matty Dada”to fans. Gaga and Dada created some of the most exceptional pop costumes of the late 2000s the music videos forPoker Face,Paparazzi,Bad Romanceand more all feature Williams” work. From mirrorball face masks and ‘disco stick’ staffs, to jagged shard corsetry, arguably his designs defined Gaga as a global icon, and in his hands her every outfit would thrill and boggle in equal measure.

“We worked on everything together: stage, videos.”Williams says. “She gave me so much trust and it was amazing to be creatively free to make things that we just wanted to see exist. They didn’t need to be commercialised for stores.”

Gaga described his work as “quite brilliant”. Williams says that the role taught him a lot about showmanship what it takes to deliver clothes that get people talking.

“It was exciting to see what materials and silhouettes can do in the right environment,”he says. “In daylight some of these pieces just looked cool. But when you see them under the lights on the stage, it can take on a different presence. I haven’t had the opportunity to do that kind of clothing since. I’m hoping to be able to do it in the future with [Givenchy] Couture, with an insanely talented atelier and a different kind of know how than I was working with in the past.”

Williams also cites another creative polymath as a great influence on his work today. After moving on from the Haus of Gaga in 2011, he returned to work with Kanye West (for whom he had previously made stage costumes), this time serving as the art director for West’s creative company DONDA.

“That’s a long interview in itself,”he says, laughing , when I ask what he learnt from working with West. “I don’t know if I could synthesise it down to one sentence. Definitely self belief. He’s a very positive person. He’ll always inspire me for having that at the top of his mind and actions.”

In 2015 Williams felt ready to run his own brand. He founded Alyx, something which he says was on the cards since he was a teenager. “All the other projects that I had done prior to that were collaborative, but I high quality designer replica handbags wholesale was the person who was trying to uplift and execute another’s vision,”he says. “It’s kind of like dressing up every day in clothes that don’t look like how high quality designer replica handbags you dress. I thought, OK, there’s been enough of that, and regardless of whether this is going to work or not I just need to explore what I actually like. I decided to make the project as personal as possible.”

The Alyx identity that he has defined has attracted a loyal social media following; he has also built a creative community with other artists the cult Vetements stylist Lotta Volkova and supermodel Bella Hadid were early adopters. Being asked in 2019 to join the ranks of Moncler Geniuses by the CEO, Remo Ruffini (whose roster of collaborators has also included JW Anderson and Valentino’s Pierpaolo Piccioli), Williams says, was another landmark moment for his brand.

“When two companies or designers come together 1:1 replica handbags and create a product that neither of them would make on their cheap replica handbags own, that’s what makes a great collaboration,” Williams says. “We’ve [the Moncler and Alyx teams] managed to create some really unique outerwear pieces throughout the years, experimenting with different scales and volumes.”

Williams champions ethical and eco friendly practices as much as possible in his work at Alyx, and says that now that his portfolio of roles is expanding, he intends to bring his principles to every company he works with.

“The word sustainability is used as this blanket statement across our industry,”he says, “but the fact is that each company’s supply chain is so different. I go into any collaboration trying to understand the process of working for that company, and then try to propose and integrate the best Discount Replica Louis Vuitton Bags solutions that I can within my power.”

At Moncler, that means that organic materials are treated with the technical performance coatings needed for durable outerwear. At LVMH owned Givenchy, he admits, he’s still new, and looking into every element of the maison.

Williams had been eyed up by the LVMH group for the Givenchy job since 2016, when he was shortlisted for the LVMH Prize for new talents, but he describes the moment of getting the offer as 15 years in the making. “I was contacted prior to the pandemic,”he says of how he first knew he might be a candidate for the job at the start of this year. “I put together my presentation on what I envisioned doing, then the pandemic happened. I came in June to Paris.”

Living between Paris and Milan (from where he still runs Alyx) is a lifestyle shift that has been difficult logistically during this year’s lockdowns, but replica louis vuitton which he describes as “a dream”.

“I’ve always wanted to design at a French maison and to understand what that felt like,”he says. “The brand is such a great fit for so many reasons. The fact that one designer gets the chance to do both men’s and women’s, and the couture appeals to me because of its relationship to pop culture and artistry and music. Also, there is a connection to California and Hollywood through Audrey Hepburn. There are so many amazing points, and I’m very clear about what I would want to do.”

Williams describes it aaa replica designer handbags as slightly bittersweet that he delivered his debut collection to a predominantly online audience (friends including Kim Kardashian, Naomi Campbell and Laura Dern posted pictures of themselves wearing his designs on Instagram in tribute). But there will be plenty of time ahead for more theatrics.

“It was a moment where I wanted to celebrate, but there’s only a certain amount that felt appropriate and I wanted to be humble,”he reflects. “At the same time, it’s left me thinking how am I gonna use this platform I have now to inspire and create some positive change. This is the beginning of the new chapter.”.

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