Matthew Williams has been deprived of physical runway shows since joining Givenchy last year, so instead, he brought his resort collection to the street.
The line, which featured a collaboration with artist Chito, was shot in Paris in locations including the Statue of Liberty replica on the Seine river and a vintage train yard, marking the first time the house has staged a show for a pre-collection.
“It’s that idea of a journey to Paris from New York,” the American designer explained in a preview at the Givenchy showroom.
“I loved this idea of the airbrush graphics being like the artwork that would be on the trains,” he continued. “A lot of people also don’t realize necessarily that the Statue of Liberty is here, and its connection to France. That’s something I always wanted to do since I moved here — to do a show at the Statue of Liberty — and this was a great opportunity to do so.”
It provided a dynamic showcase for the work of Chito, the Seattle-born, Mexico-based artist who has collaborated with brands including Supreme, and is known for individually customizing outerwear such as Arc’teryx jackets.
Williams is a fan of his work, and of airbrushing in general, having grown up attending vintage car shows with his dad. “It might look simple to the eye, but why people love airbrushing is because it’s always one-off,” he said. Working with a factory in Italy, Givenchy found a method to replicate the airbrushed motifs by hand on a larger scale.
Chito’s signature characters, including a cartoon dog and a sad clown, were applied on items ranging from denim jackets and pants, to hoodies, backpacks, sneakers and masks. The collaboration includes a handful of one-of-a-kind customized Rimowa suitcases.
The tie-up checks several important boxes. Luxury brands have found collaborations effective in generating buzz among streetwear-obsessed Gen Z consumers, with last week alone witnessing the unveiling of Louis Vuitton’s Air Force 1 sneakers with Nike, and Dior’s collection designed with rapper Travis Scott.
It also responds to a yearning for personalization and uniqueness — in this case, Givenchy’s 4G logo as seen through Chito’s lens. Lastly, it caters to the all-important Chinese market. The collection will drop on WeChat in China on July 9 and will arrive in Givenchy stores worldwide on July 16, while the rest of collection will go on sale in November.
The looks anchored a strong collection that delivered a solid urban punch, courtesy of biker-sleeved jackets, body-conscious dresses with cutout midriffs and matching cropped jackets, and distressed jeans that were surprisingly soft to the touch.
Williams’ signature hardware abounded, from the pierced rings on the chopped-off rim of a baseball cap to the silvery body harnesses set with crystals. Two sleek black evening gowns, worn with puffer jackets, provided a taster for the Cannes Film Festival next week.
From city streets to the red carpet, Williams’ vision for Givenchy has clearly hit its stride.