1017 ALYX 9SM FALL 2021 MEN'S

“It’s a stripping-back to where we began, and defining those codes again, and making them more consistent and solid. Because we weren’t doing a show, we wanted to reduce it down to exactly what was needed.”

By Balthazar Malevolent

1017 ALYX 9SM FALL 2021 MEN'S

Imbuing conventional dress codes with progressive values is, unsurprisingly, a big theme this men’s season. The social unrest of 2020 has made houses from Louis Vuitton to Hermès think beyond the surface of change. Now, fashion wants to change the meaning of its own codes entirely, and promote freedom of identity. As a drop in the new bloodline of designers flowing through the veins of the industry, Matthew Williams speaks that language. His co-ed collection for 1017 Alyx 9SM (say it ten times fast) continued his free game of mixing and matching the codes of traditional wardrobes through the fabrication-centric approach that defines his work.

It’s an ongoing fortification of brand identity that never strays off focus. Even Williams’ show notes reflected it. Devoid of traditional spiels on inspiration, they offered instead a list of fabric and hardware developments and new accessories. “Alyx always keeps evolving the same silhouette and the same materials. The hardware is consistent,” the designer said on a video call from his sprawling apartment in Paris, a panoramic city view behind him. “It’s a stripping-back to where we began, and defining those codes again, and making them more consistent and solid. Because we weren’t doing a show, we wanted to reduce it down to exactly what was needed.”

The pictures he released in place of his usual runway presentation showed a collage of twisted classics: massive teddy coats, super elongated denim jackets, various shape-shifting takes on puffers and parkas, body-con dresses, and suits developed by Caruso. Add the industrial buckle accessories Williams excels in, and the ‘ugly cool’ EVA-soled slides and mules adored by Gen Z superstars, and you’ve pretty much ticked every box on the young social media-fueled trend list. “Women’s materials are stretch, knitwear is cosy, shoes can just be slipped on. But you still feel ‘dressed’. It’s effortless,” he said, echoing the generational dressing mentality that created those trends in the first place. When the Alyx customer emerges from a year of confinement, the demand for that kind of comfort-wear will only be stronger.

What Williams does is part of a fashion revolution that isn’t going anywhere. Nearly two seasons into his artistic director job in the hallowed halls of Givenchy, that’s a fact. His fabrication-focused design methodology challenges the popular notion that his generation of designers is about creative direction rather than technical merit. Yet with his rapidly growing global platforms (next to Alyx and Givenchy, he also works with Moncler and Nike), if he wants to, Williams now has the superstructure to explore a more thematic approach; not necessarily a ‘reference’, but a big statement beyond the borders of materials. As far as his own evolution goes, it could be the natural next step.

1017 Alyx 9sm Fall 2021 Men's

In other news, Rick Owens Fall 2021 Men's. “I’m always conscious of my own aggression. And the older that I get, I feel like I should have reached a level of serenity that I just haven’t; I get impatient, I get itchy, I snap at people sometimes… Aggression is something that I’m fascinated with because I’m constantly conscious of wrestling with it, personally. And I think that that’s true of every man.”

[object Object]
[object Object]
[object Object]
[object Object]
[object Object]
[object Object]
[object Object]
[object Object]
[object Object]
[object Object]
1 / 10

Shop now