On the second day of Paris Fashion Week, Givenchy’s creative director Matthew M. Williams hit the runway with a menswear collection all about layering. The designer had crafted the looks hand in hand with the French fashion house’s couture ateliers, meaning the references to contemporary menswear were laden with well-executed silhouettes and traditionally masculine elements.
But the standout of the whole show was the references to punk subculture and workwear, which produced one of Givenchy’s most unified and cohesive collections to date. With the stage set on an all-white runway to the sounds of British indie-rock musician Bakar, the models filed out to the structure inside a giant black box built behind the Les Invalides. The front row boasted a league of K-pop stars and other celebs, including Big Bang band member Taeyang, who they recently named one of their brand ambassadors.
The outerwear reigned supreme throughout, with models billowing in oversized herringbones and sharp-shouldered suit jackets. The richness of the coats paired with faded hoodies, grunge shirts, and chunky knits meant the looks remained well-balanced, infusing elements of fun punk subcultural references into a well-crafted selection of garments. Within the clashing of patterns and layering of textures, the ensembles still felt justified as they layered the experimental pieces with tailoring and outerwear. The patterns of plaid, camouflage, denim, bleach canvas, neons, and pastels all display the complex process of treatments throughout the collection. With the accompaniment of loose shapes and layered styling, the looks disregard the need for tucked-in tradition. The punk influences also got an update, as the grunge kilts were swapped for camo overskirts, and the tartan sat on shirts and trousers with layered shorts and cutoff short-sleeve hoodies.
Some of the best looks were those that just shouldn’t have worked; pants with floating hips, tartan wool, jersey combos, waistcoats over sweaters, and explosions of faux python print and leopard fur. The reconstructed camo pants were reimagined workwear at its finest, taking classic streetwear garments on the lower half and pairing the pants with square-shoulder overcoats. The myriad of patterns, like animal print with furs and distressed bleach, proved cohesive as the looks came out with the monochrome company of all-black cropped trenches and tuxedo-style getups.
Often, the fashion house’s take on glamour is on point, but with this collection, the threads of the brand’s DNA feel as though they are finally being undone. Dress codes have been deconstructed, so much so that loose cords and unhemmed suits are their new take on sophistication. Instead of following traditional street style trends, Givenchy is becoming a leader. In this fresh and exciting take on menswear, the collection feels like a serious step in the right direction for the brand, excellently utilising layered prints, punk inspiration, and couture tailoring to achieve excellence.