When Matthew M Williams was appointed creative director of Givenchy back in June, he knew he’d have to tackle things a little differently. With just three months until the spring/summer 2021 collections were due to be unveiled and no sign of the Covid-19 virus ceasing, Williams was forced to think outside the box — and he did.
For while some Paris Fashion Week designers, namely Louis Vuitton and Chanel, chose to show physically in September and October, Williams instead photographed his Givenchy debut in all its splendor against a pristine white background with no distractions – and no accompanying digital activation. Understated, fierce and hardware-heavy, his 54-look collection oozed simplicity and sophistication, ensuring the focus was plainly on the clothes. And the accessories: in the time it took for fashion editors to screenshot their favorite pieces, his unusual arm candy rocketed to the top of wishlists the world over.
As for phase two? A fortnight on from his inaugural showcase, the American designer welcomed a starry fanbase into his #GivenchyFamily. An avid Instagram user himself (he has amassed nearly half a million followers on his personal account) it is unsurprising that Williams used the power of social media to introduce his celebrity devotees.
Bella Hadid, who was familiarised with the forward-thinking IG campaign format after her Jacquemus Zoom shoot, had the honor of wearing look one. Styled remotely by styling powerhouse Lotta Volkova, the supermodel shared an album of shots to her feed, in which she can be seen posing on a staircase sporting a daring mesh top with a sash overlay, tailored trousers and a pair of statement shoes. Hot on the heels of her Michael Kors campaign shoot in the Big Apple, Bella apologized for her busy schedule and captioned the carousel: “Shot this at midnight after work. Sorry I’m late.”
Next up: the Kardashian-Jenner clan. Longtime supporters of Williams’s work at 1017 Alyx 9SM, the streetwear label he founded back in 2015, the designer enlisted Kendall, Kim and Kylie to join his newly-formed Givenchy gang. The trio modeled looks 54, 45 and 50 respectively and the latter was photographed with Travis Scott, who was dressed in look 30.
Newlywed Natalia Vodianova, tennis star Maria Sharapova, actors Laura Dern, Liv Tyler and Julianne Moore, rappers Playboi Carti and Skepta plus photographer Nick Knight were also among the expansive cast of the unique campaign, in addition to the artistic director of both Dior Men’s and Fendi womenswear and couture, Kim Jones. Williams even took his turn in front of the camera and was pictured wearing a pair of marbled trousers and a sleek black blazer (look 39).
In conclusion: this was a lesson in how to unveil a buzzy new collection in the Covid era. We can’t wait for it to hit stores.
Originally published on Vogue.co.uk