December 3, 2020

Givenchy Names Matthew M. Williams as New Creative Director

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the business of fashion presents voices 2019 — day 2

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Givenchy has tapped Matthew M. Williams as the new creative director of Givenchy. The Chicago-born designer is the seventh individual to helm the iconic French fashion label, following Clare Waight Keller, who departed the brand in April 2020 after becoming the first woman to hold the title, bringing a ladylike charm and revitalizing the couture business of the storied maison.

Williams’s aesthetic, on the other hand, is much more aligned with Waight Keller’s predecessor, Riccardo Tisci (now at Burberry), who presented collections inspired by street culture, appealing to the top music acts working today. Indeed, Williams’s ties to the music industry run deep: The 34-year-old cut his teeth collaborating with Lady Gaga and Kanye West before founding Been Trill, a menswear label that he codesigned with Heron Preston and Virgil Abloh, two other protégés of West.

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In 2016, Williams was ushered into the international fashion arena when his womenswear brand, 1017 Alyx 9SM, was selected as a finalist for the LVMH Prize. The accolade attracted the attention of the industry’s bigwigs, including Sidney Toledano, chairman and CEO of LVMH Fashion Group, the parent company of Givenchy.

“I am very happy to see Matthew M. Williams join the LVMH Group,” Toledano said in a statement. “Since he took part in the LVMH Prize, we have had the pleasure of watching him develop into the great talent he is today. I believe his singular vision of modernity will be a great opportunity for Givenchy to write its new chapter with strength and success.”

“I am convinced that, with his unapologetic approach to design and creativity and in great collaboration with the Maison’s exceptional ateliers and teams, Matthew will help Givenchy reach its full potential,” added Renaud de Lesquen, CEO and president of Givenchy.

The announcement of Williams’s appointment comes at a time when the fashion industry is in flux. Since the outbreak of COVID-19, brands are evaluating how best to present their collections to the public, deciding whether or not Fashion Week in September is a viable option. Still, Givenchy is putting its trust in Williams and will present his first collection for the brand in October. Williams, too, is up for the challenge, expressing his admiration for the label and how he will use his position to spur change in fashion.

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“I want to say something about how honored I am to be taking on the role as creative director of Givenchy,” Williams said via a recording shared on the brand’s Twitter and Instagram accounts. “It’s been my lifelong dream to be in this position, and it’s really surreal that it’s finally here. I’ve worked every day for 15 years towards a single goal, and it’s super, super surreal. And at the same time, it’s bittersweet because we’re living in unprecedented times in the world. And I just hope in some way that I can bring hope and, with my community and colleagues, create positive change for our industry and in the world. And I’d like to use this platform to do so.”

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