After showing in Paris for several seasons, Matthew Williams decamped to Milan, where his design studio is based, to parade his fall coed collection for 1017 Alyx 9SM. He took over a deconsecrated church, its walls bearing signs of decay and neglect, and filled it a with few socially distanced guests and pounding music. The latter was produced by Williams’ friend F1lthy, the Philadelphia-based producer and mastermind of the Working on Dying collective.
As the first model traversed the aisle of the church, flying drones and automated cameras frantically moved around to give remote viewers a glimpse into the sleek vibe of the collection. These were clothes to be seen in motion, for all the layering on men and sensuality that female concoctions exuded.
The industrial-tinged, rational, and product-driven design ethos of Williams was softened this season by off-kilter details: ostrich feathers trimming the hoods of puffers on men, tulle drapes gently snaking over the collarbone for wet-look PVC frocks on women.
They conveyed a more intimate touch, which the designer described as “natural tech.”
“I honestly just make clothes that I feel are desirable. It may sound a little bit selfish or narcissistic, but I’m just making things that I like hoping others will like them, too,” Williams said backstage. “It’s about evolution, not revolution.”
Women wore body-hugging dresses covered in crystal mesh and razor-sharp tailoring with metallic clasps, or evening tops with cascading beads over tuxedo pants. Such looks suggested cool grown-ups who still happen to rave from time to time.
As the beats intensified, men stampeded in the latest iteration of the Mono shoe, a single, seamless piece of molded EVA foam given matte or wet-look black finish. They wore multilayered, hybrid puffers dotted with metal rivets and knitwear inserts, hourglass-shaped boiled wool overcoats and cargo pants, the latter with nylon details.
This decisive and mature collection proved Williams is no one-trick designer.