1017 ALYX 9SM founder Matthew Williams has officially joined Givenchy as creative director for the house’s men’s and women’s collections. The news has been confirmed by Givenchy on their Instagram channel.
In April, British designer Clare Waight Keller announced her departure from the role after three years at the luxury house, quickly fuelling speculation as to who would replace her. Today, the LVMH-owned brand confirmed that Williams will succeed Keller as artistic director and present his first collection for the house in October.
“I want to say something about how honored I am to be taking on the creative director role at Givenchy,” Williams said in a voice memo posted on Givenchy’s Instagram account. “It’s been my lifelong dream to be in this position and it’s really surreal that’s it’s finally here. I’ve worked every day for 15 years towards this single goal. At the same time it’s bittersweet because we’re living in unprecedented times in the world. I hope I can bring hope and with my community and colleagues create positive change in our industry and the world and I would like to use this platform to do so.”
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Williams, who is well-known for marrying streetwear and luxury sensibilities in his work has quickly become a household name in the men’s luxury fashion industry in the past couple of years with his Milan-based brand 1017 ALYX 9SM — named after his eldest daughter. Having close ties to the LVMH family — he’s close friends with Louis Vuitton’s artistic director Virgil Abloh and has worked with Kim Jones on buckled hardware at Dior — have made him an early rumored candidate for the position at Givenchy.
“I am very happy to see Matthew M. WILLIAMS join the LVMH Group. Since he took part in the LVMH Prize, we have had the pleasure of watching him develop into the great talent he is today,” said Sidney Toledano, chairman and CEO of LVMH Fashion Group.
In 2012, Williams was part of Been Trill, the internet-born art collective and DJ crew-turned streetwear line with Virgil Abloh, Heron Preston and Justin Saunders, who met while working for Kanye West and leveraged their insider connections and roots to underground subcultures to create a micro community of authoritative creatives, subsequently driving demand for any product they would put out.
Speaking to Highsnobiety last year, he explained the collective was “not about us taking over this fashion community, we just brought in a new one that was more aware of streetwear.” However, it’s with 1017 ALYX 9SM, founded in 2015 — and backed by Slam Jam’s Luca Benini — that Williams has cemented himself as an authoritative luxury tastemaker that can speak to the ever-evolving tastes of youth culture.
With 1017 ALYX 9SM, Williams has built a modern day luxury brand that has brought streetwear’s visual aesthetic and mindset around drop-style distribution, open communication with consumers and high-low collaborations — including those with Nike, Moncler, Stüssy and Mackintosh — to the luxury industry at large. All while keeping a focus in product innovation and sustainability. Today, the commercially successful brand includes menswear, womenswear, accessories, jewelry and kidswear, with Williams having dipped in and out of watches, furniture, dogwear and loungewear.
“My goal is to create a brand that’s an example of modern craftsmanship. Sustainability is modern luxury. Why does luxury just have to be [about] old couture techniques? Why can’t those techniques be interpreted in new ways with new processes?” Williams explained in Highsnobiety’s podcast series On the Record last year.
Under Waight Keller and then Givenchy CEO Philippe Fortunato, Givenchy owner LVMH had hoped the brand would have grown to the of Dior’s fashion business, surpassing revenues of €2 billion. It did not happen with Givenchy’s revenues estimated at just one fifth of the size. The aim to reach this goal, however, still remains likely. Just two months ago, Givenchy named Renaud de Lesquen its new CEO, succeeding Fortunato. De Lesquen, joined from Dior, where he held the position of President and CEO of Dior Americas.
Now with Williams at the creative helm, Givenchy may very well become the global power house LVMH has positioned it to be at last.