Matthew M. Williams Presents his Best Yet for Givenchy’s FW Men’s Ready-to-Wear 2023 Collection
Williams pursues a new idea of menswear, taking cues from tradition before departing from them for his modern sense of masculine dressing
Givenchy’s Fall/Winter Men’s Ready-to-Wear 2023 Collection took place inside of a pristinely white box, perhaps as a priming of the stage for a new direction for Creative Director Matthew M. Williams. The collection is set to the backdrop of uber-cool British indie-rock musician, Bakar, who recorded the music in the days preceding the show. For the collection, Williams has reflected on his own personal relationship with clothing as a way of asserting a new future for Givenchy’s menswear; a future that will focus on drastically advancing the brand’s canon of classic menswear.
The show started out with a collection of four all-black suits that were precisely crafted in a haute couture atelier, yet left unhemmed at the seams — a subtle yet tense display of Williams’ desire to upend tradition. These haute couture suits were worn with a body-hugging black turtleneck knit, and equally dark boots and gloves, almost giving the illusion of a men’s catsuit as the base layer, which adds an almost sexual edge to the carefully created tailoring. Later in the show, this idea of body-conscious tailoring is abandoned for the style of suit that seems most in line with a signature Matthew Williams collection; extremely oversized. Williams has become a master in his own right at creating the idyllic oversized blazer; oversized enough that it looks effortlessly cool thrown over a sweatshirt, yet formal enough in its construction that it appears as clever. This duality between the two extremes of tailoring is indicative of the range that Williams has as a designer, a flex that is present throughout the entirety of the show.
Let’s hope next winter is a cold one, because Williams wants us in layers — lots of them. Your basic black tee is worn over a tight, almost constrictive, long-sleeve tee, worn scrunched in the sleeves overtop a flannel, which sits atop an open mesh layer that hangs low over the pants, creating an elongation of the torso. Camo shorts are baggy and distressed, worn on top of a slightly less baggy, yet ultimately, baggy pair of black and red plaid pants. This is in essence, how one should participate in strange-boy styling. This remix of a typical standard of layering has made for a rethinking of garments that one would typically think of as being oversized; here, sweatshirts have been ultra-shrunken, and worn atop a baggier flannel, puckering the flannel to create an almost puff sleeve halfway down the arm.
In line with his extreme experimentation in layering is the inclusion of skirts that have been styled over pants. Skirts have been popping up more and more in menswear shows, and have been stated as a way of ever-so-slightly rethinking gender roles in the way we get dressed for quite some time now. What Williams has done with his version of the men’s skirt is to create them out of garments that are already familiar to them. Classic workwear pants have been basically sliced in half to create these skirts that are styled over long pants. Williams has found a solution for men to add skirts into their wardrobes in an approachable way, while still maintaining fashion-forward integrity.
While the collection was a playground for Williams to play with a variety of new textures, what stuck out as perhaps the most joyously indulgent were the faux fur coats. From a traditional style in its silhouette and color towards the beginning of the show, to a hooded rendition that has been created out of a marvelous purple-pink duotone faux fur, these coats added ultra-jovial moments to the runway.
Mr. Williams’ FW23 collection for Givenchy may just be his best collection yet. There is a desire to modernize streetwear, a fashion culture that Williams has long been a master of, by starting to pull away at the gendered expectations that surround it. What sticks out as the most invigorating pulse behind the show is the sense that Williams is excited to depart from tradition. Through new and exciting textures to adventures in layering to expanding our ideas of what menswear can be; Williams has taken risks that have paid off, and is headed down a path that looks like an exciting future for the house of Givenchy.
Watch the full show, below: