Kanye West was rooting for another member of his posse’s Paris Men’s Week debut: that of Matthew Williams.
“You’re so fire, I love you bro’,” yelled West, giving Williams a huge bear hug following the show, one of the most anticipated and exciting of the week — in energy at least. (The pair go way back: Williams, who has a background in denim and costume design for musical artists, was art director of Donda, West’s creative agency, and cofounded the DJ and art collective Been Trill with Heron Preston and Virgil Abloh.)
In terms of fashion propositions, it didn’t really break any new ground. But that was the point. As his first fashion show since launching in New York in 2015 — until now he’s only done look book shoots — Williams backstage said he wanted to show “a culmination of his work from the past years….To show the codes of the brand for the first time.”
From a product standpoint, that included different boots, hardware, the roller-coaster safety buckles and his experiments with garment dye and nylon fabric development.
“What I do is maybe a continuous evolution of the season before. It’s always about making clothing that is about living today; it’s a reflection of now,” said the designer, who is now based in Italy and plans to continue showing in Paris.
He invited friends from around the world to walk in the show, hailing from places including Japan, South Korea, L.A., New York and Sweden.
“Even though we’re based in Italy and we began in New York, the brand is very much a global brand. Paris Fashion Week has a long history of showing foreign designers, so it feels very much like home for me,” he said.
At the same time, in terms of inspirations, “I was definitely thinking a lot about being an American, because I’ve just moved.”
His collection captured the thing of the moment with a mix of urban, street, punk and industrial and lots of attitude.
Williams’ denim roots could be felt in the construction of the collection, like on the suits with contrast stitching and the delineation of themes. His signature safety buckle also served to style up looks.
Key pieces included fleeces in a pixelized camo, a boxy blue stonewashed denim jacket in an all-over logo and a matching cargo-style pant with patch pockets on the side. He also sent out punk bondage pants, and popper-studded detachable denim pants mimicking thigh boots, worn over crystal-studded body suits.
Best capturing the industrial raver vibe was a look pairing a tie-dye-style T-shirt with a pale green jogging pant with a car print on the leg and a shiny black coat with a tarpaulin-like surface and white contrast stitching with what looked like a lady’s snakeskin bag worn across the body.
Williams, who designed the metal buckles seen on the accessories in Kim Jones’ debut Dior Homme show on Saturday, here premiered his first Nike shoe, with a removable mono-polymer sole that’s sustainable, designed in collaboration with Vibram. A lot of the graphic T-shirts in his collection were also made from recycled plastics and textile waste, without using water or chemicals, he said.
It made for an electrifying wrap for Paris Men’s Week — one full of promise for what’s to come.