Givenchy names streetwear designer Matthew Williams as new creative director

Matthew Williams, the founder and designer behind streetwear label 017 Alyx 9SM, has been named Givenchy’s new creative director following the exit of Clare Waight Keller. Williams is officially the French house’s seventh couturier.

The LVMH-owned brand took to Instagram to announce the news on Monday, June 15. Williams’ new role will go into effect on June 16, and he is set to present his first collection for Givenchy in October.

“It’s been my lifelong dream to be in this position and it’s really surreal that it’s finally here,” Williams said in a voice note statement. “At the same time, it’s bittersweet because we’re living in unprecedented times in the world. I just hope in some way I can bring hope and … with my community and colleagues, create positive change for our industry and for the world. I’d like to use this platform to do so.”

This latest industry pairing is aligned with the overall direction that luxury fashion has taken in recent years, with heritage houses looking to lesser-known streetwear designers to take over the artistic helm. For example, there’s Off-White’s Virgil Abloh, who’s running men’s at Louis Vuitton’s. Additionally, Vetement’s Demna Gvasalia replaced Alexander Wang at Balenciaga in 2015, and Raf Simmons is set to join Miuccia Prada as co-creative director at Prada.

Waight Keller was the first female creative director at Givenchy and rose to public prominence after she designed Meghan Markle’s dress for the May 2018 royal wedding. Prior to Williams’ new role, the 35-year-old American designer worked closely with Lady Gaga and Kanye West on visual creative direction for their music careers.

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