From the moment his appointment as creative director of Givenchy was announced in June of this year, Alyx's Matthew M. Williams has been making his aesthetic stamp clear — even though customers have yet to see so much as a single sketch.
First, it was through a series of rather self-serious portraits released on the brand's Instagram, completely wiped apart from two portraits of former creative directors Riccardo Tisci and Clare Waight Keller.Then, over the weekend, Givenchy unveiled its first ad campaign under Williams's leadership, shot by Nick Knight, as well as a video featuring a riff by Playboi Carti playing with the correct and incorrect ways to pronounce the French name — another hint at what might come under his vision.
So, what might we expect? Lots and lots of hardware — no shocker, considering Williams has made a name for himself on the strength of his accessories and streetwear design — including chains molded to look like subtle Gs and padlocks with "piercings" at the locks to make them customizable.
What is slightly surprising is that Williams apparently found inspiration for the latter in an honestly kind of cheesy place. The release indicates that he "began by drawing inspiration from his new life in Paris, incorporating beloved places and emblems into his designs. In particular, a picture he took of the celebrated 'love locks' adorning the bridges of Paris was the starting point for an original take on Givenchy signatures."
As someone who studying abroad in Paris not once, but deux fois, I can tell you with some degree of authority that one of the things nearly every American is charmed by on their first visit to the city, without fail, are the "love locks" adorning many of the bridges spanning the Seine.
A (largely tourist) tradition, lovers would come to the bridge — first Pont des Arts, but eventually any footpath over the river — and close a padlock with their initials scribbled on it over the grate, throwing the key into the Seine to forever seal their love with what essentially amounts to an act of littering. It became such a go-to tourist move that the city of Paris ultimately had to cut nearly 45 tons of locks off the bridges after the partial collapse of the Pont des Arts's railings in 2015, and it has since spawned copycats in pretty much every big tourist city worldwide. But still, the tradition persists in Paris, where it continues to charm just about every American tourist — and, apparently, Williams.
Hey, at least it's not the Eiffel Tower?
At any rate, Williams's debut collection for the brand will be shown in just a matter of days during Paris Fashion Week. Judging by these "street-edged" images, we're guessing there won't be much to appeal to Waight Keller customers like Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex, in the new Givenchy.
See the images from Williams's first ad campaign with Givenchy in the gallery below: