Givenchy has just announced that, starting tomorrow, June 16, Matthew M. Williams, the 34-year-old founder of 1017 Alyx 9SM, will become the seventh creative director of the fashion house, succeeding Clare Waight Keller who had held this position for the last three years.
This appointment will be of great importance to the brand, given Williams’ popularity with Millennials and Gen Z – which according to a report by Bain & Company and Altagamma will represent 50% of the luxury market over the next five years. Williams will present his first collection for Givenchy in October.
“I am convinced that, with his unapologetic approach to design and creativity and in great collaboration with the maison’s exceptional ateliers and teams, Matthew will help Givenchy reach its full potential”. – Renaud de Lesquen, CEO
Williams’s role is also the second artistic director of a heritage brand that the LVMH group has assigned to a designer from the streetwear world, after Virgil Abloh.
Its role will certainly be to give the brand a new and more modern direction, making it expand its turnover to match that of Dior or at least more than the mark-up of two billion dollars per year (at the moment, according to WWD estimates, the revenue is around one billion annually). The work of Clare Waight Keller, while receiving excellent criticism for her couture collections, had not commercially matched the all-important contribution that the streetwear-oriented collections of Riccardo Tisci, creative director of Givenchy before her, had had for the brand – reaching almost half of its sales to date.
It is certain that Williams will be asked to direct his efforts in this direction. At the same time, the choice to appoint one of the most active young designers in the industry, which already enjoys its own cult following, will help the brand to deal with the 35% contraction that the luxury market has suffered as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Williams will move to Paris to follow the activities of the brand, whose collections, both male and female, will have full responsibility – while continuing to work on the collections of 1017 Alyx 9SM.