Spring 2023 turns a new page in the Matthew Williams era at Givenchy — this much was teased in a widely-discussed New York Times profile of the designer by Jessica Testa, published on Saturday, ahead of the brand's show. It's a worthwhile read, especially as a supplementary text for the collection: She writes about speculation regarding Williams' contract with LVMH, the reception his work for the brand has gotten and, crucially, its plans for a turnaround.
The direction for spring, Testa explains in the piece, is "more svelte and sexy — or 'feminine and sophisticated,' as Mr. Williams said — with less of a tough New Yorker girl vibe and more of a new-to-him Parisian chic... as if his intensity has been plugged into Google Translate. (Or as if he suddenly got more female co-workers.)" The show was styled by Carine Roitfeld, which added another very specific sensibility (and female POV) to the whole collection.
Surely enough, the spring show — held at Paris' Jardin des Plantes, not long after the skies opened up and rain poured over guests looking for their seats — evolves some of the codes Williams has introduced since he took over Givenchy. There's still an edge (as seen in leather harness bra tops, sharp-shouldered gloves shirts, low-slung bottoms), but the pieces feel like they could fit into a woman's wardrobe very easily: a flounce hem slip that can be styled with a blazer or worn on its own, tweed separates that fit a variety of occasions, dresses with a touch of something but still look and feel uncomplicated.
Part of Williams' appeal as a designer has always been his ability to read the zeitgeist and understand what customers are gravitating toward — in the case of this collection, we see plenty of Y2K-referential looks that feed the hunger for nostalgia (think low-rise cargo shorts and long denim skirts).
It'll be interesting to see how Givenchy's Spring 2023 collection translates in retail — what sells, what people respond to and what it might tell us about the future of the house.
See the full Givenchy Spring 2023 collection in the gallery below.