Designers are celebrating their return to the runway by staging their first shows in 18 months in a host of spectacular locations. This week in Paris alone, Hermès transported guests to the private airport of Le Bourget, staging their runway on an actual runway, organising a plane to touch down behind models during the show’s finale. Meanwhile, Balenciaga took over the grand Théâtre du Châtelet, staging a red carpet complete with hundreds of screaming fans, before surprising guests inside with a special 10-minute episode of The Simpsons.
Matthew M Williams, who was appointed creative director of Givenchy mid-lockdown, in June 2020, also had something big in mind for not only Givenchy’s return, but to mark his first physical runway show for the house, taking guests to the Paris La Défense Arena, the largest indoor performance venue in Europe, on the outskirts of the city.
Attendees arrived to see an art gallery-inspired show set in the sculptural, domed space that was designed by the French architect Christian de Portzamparc. The reference to the art world was fitting: to create Givenchy’s Spring Summer 2022 collection, Williams collaborated with New York-based artist Josh Smith, working with Smith to create a unique collection blending the pair’s differing aesthetics.
The result were colourful pieces completely different to Williams’ usual monochromatic colour palette and playful designs featuring Smith’s prints, which are goth-inspired (the Grim Reaper can be seen on jackets and tops), but lively and playful at the same time.
Set to the soundtrack of an original score by Young Thug, there was plenty of Williams’s signature austerity from his Alyx 9sm days on display in the form of incredible thigh-high leather boots almost touching model’s mini skirts and new bag shapes, such as the Kenny, debuted on Kendall Jenner at the Met Gala in bright red and one covered in small abalone shells.
The collection had a ready to wear vibe with couture techniques—fitting given this January, Williams will show his first haute couture collection for the house. Given the detail seen on everything from a pair of shorts to lace-trimmed mini-skirts seen on the runway on Sunday night, we can’t hardly wait.