The departure of Matthew M. Williams from Givenchy, effective January 1st, 2024, marks the end of an era for the revered fashion house. The change, announced by Givenchy in a positive tone, reflects the evolving dynamics within Europe’s heritage brands and paves the way for a new chapter at the prestigious brand.
Williams’ tenure at Givenchy has been nothing short of remarkable. Appointed as the brand’s seventh designer during the challenging times of the COVID-19 pandemic, he brought a fresh and contemporary approach to the label’s heritage. Known for his keen fashion sense and cultural connections, Williams initially engaged with the brand’s community through virtual platforms and limited physical showcases. His unique style and approach has been instrumental in redefining Givenchy’s aesthetic, infusing the brand with a modern sensibility while honoring the foundations laid by its founder, Hubert de Givenchy.
“Leading the creative direction of Givenchy has been, as I said when I arrived in 2020, the dream of a lifetime,” Williams said in the statement. “Over these three years, I have strived to continue the legacy of Mr. Hubert de Givenchy while bringing my own creative vision, and I would like to sincerely thank the studio, Renaud de Lesquen and LVMH for this incredible opportunity.”
The designer’s tenure at Givenchy was marked by several notable moments. His first runway show for the Fall/Winter 2021 season was a milestone, fusing fashion with a pulsating soundscape curated by his extensive network in the music industry. Although Williams did not present a high-fashion collection during Paris Haute Couture Week, he designed couture gowns for celebrities such as Jodie Foster and Kendall Jenner, showcasing his versatility and technical expertise.
Givenchy acknowledged Williams’ contributions, highlighting his role in modernizing the brand and strengthening its international presence, particularly in the United States and Japan. Williams’ time at Givenchy was marked by his focus on evolution, blending elements from the founder’s era with his unique vision. His designs often drew on garment archetypes and emphasized fabric and finishes, reflecting his technical skill and artistic sensibility.
Beyond Givenchy, Williams was a prominent figure in the fashion industry. His personal brand, 1017 Alyx 9SM, is known for its industrial and utilitarian appeal. Launched in 2015, the brand reflects high-quality materials and modern craftsmanship, qualities that Williams has seamlessly integrated into his work at Givenchy, earning him accolades including being shortlisted for the LVMH Prize for Young Fashion Designers. His collaborations with major brands such as Nike, Moncler and Dior, and his association with cultural icons such as Kanye West and Lady Gaga speak volumes about his diverse and influential career.
Givenchy’s brief statement on Williams‘ departure reflects a tone of gratitude and optimism. Renaud de Lesquen, president and CEO of Givenchy, expressed his appreciation for the energy and vision Williams brought to the brand. As the house prepares for this transition, the focus now shifts to the upcoming men’s and women’s Pre-Fall 2024 collections, Williams’ final contribution to Givenchy.
The search for Williams’ successor is underway, sparking curiosity and speculation in the fashion community. Givenchy has a history of transformative leadership, with illustrious names such as John Galliano, Alexander McQueen, Riccardo Tisci and Clare Waight Keller at the helm. As the brand looks to a new creative chapter, the industry is eager to see who will take up the mantle and lead Givenchy into its next era of innovation and style.
Givenchy’s statement also hinted at a future led by its studio teams until a new creative vision is unveiled.