The lowly rubber boot, recently zhuzhed up by Chanel with double-Cs and a four-figure price tag, is getting an upgrade for men, too, courtesy of Matthew Williams and Givenchy.
Models emerged from a giant white box plunked in the middle of École Militaire in Paris and splashed through a moat of milky white fluid in their vulcanized Givenchy footwear. The eye went right to these chunky rain boots, which grounded a collection weighted heavily on neon performance gear and streetwear essentials like cargo pants, denim Bermudas and variations on the logo hoodie.
Williams has a thing for sculptural footwear realized with cutting-edge manufacturing techniques, including sneakers that bring to mind Zaha Hadid furniture with their swooping outsoles and jutting, tennis-ball heel counters. Variations were seen at Wednesday’s show on the feet of celebrity guests including J Balvin and Tyga, and the models navigating the shallow pool of a runway.
Staging his first dedicated menswear show since arriving at Givenchy in June 2020, Williams skewed this display in a commercial direction, throwing in some handsome tailoring at the end and blowing out the knees on the pants, just as he did on narrow jeans licked with silver zippers, and crisp nylon track pants. The slashed dress trousers were probably a bit of runway razzmatazz to match the ragged and shredded sweaters — and convey the edgy, industrial accent the American designer has brought to the French house.
During a recent interview, Williams explained that his penchant for clothes that are sun bleached or frayed comes from a personal place.
“When I wear something that’s quite new, I like the tension of adding something that’s old. It makes it feel real,” he said. “I think that’s why I’m so into garment dyeing and treatments in the collections, because it gives the clothing a soul, that feeling they’ve been touched by hand, lived-in. I’m always kind of drawn to that.”
And so the spring collection pinged between glossy shell jackets, some in fine leather, or sleek sleeveless tops, and artfully tattered pants and blousons. As with his signature collection 1017 Alyx 9SM, Williams has a knack for eye-catching accessories, unveiling a complete range of Givenchy jewelry for men hinged on beefy chains and padlock pendants and earrings. The wraparound sunglasses were cool looking.
Sometimes clothing and accessories merged: Cue nifty logo turtlenecks that can be tugged up over the head to become a logo headband and face mask.