After powerhouse designer Clare Waight Keller departed from her role of creative director at Givenchy, speculation about her potential replacement reached a fever pitch. Today, the French luxury house announced its new creative director: 1017 ALYX 9SM founder Matthew M Williams.
The 34-year-old Californian will relocate to Italy to take on his first major creative director role at LVMH‘s Givenchy. The rationale behind the selection wasn’t clarified by the house but considering that LVMH dominated headlines with its hiring of Virgil Abloh to Louis Vuitton, it follows that the luxury conglomerate would be keen to add Abloh’s Been Trill co-founder and personal friend Williams to its roster. Williams has also partnered with LVMH-owned Dior for specialty accessories under the supervision of Williams’ colleague, Kim Jones.
Founded in 2015, Williams’ 1017 ALYX 9SM — occasionally shortened to ALYX — is backed by Italian powerhouse Slam Jam and has seen explosive growth in the past several years. After obtaining LVMH Prize finalist status in 2016, ALYX’s menswear line debuted in 2017 and eventually grew to surpass the womenswear line in global stockists. Currently, the brand is offered by some of the industry’s most prized retailers, including Dover Street Market, SSENSE and Selfridges.
1017 ALYX 9SM is perhaps best known for its signature rollercoaster buckle-equipped accessories which have graced Dior runways and become celebrity favorites. The label’s technical, adventure-inspired designs frequently take cues from subcultures as diverse as rock climbing and goth music, fostering collaborations with brands like Nike, ROA and Blackmeans.
“I am extremely honored to join the House of Givenchy,” Williams said in a statement. “I am looking forward to working together with its ateliers and teams, to move it into a new era, based on modernity and inclusivity. In these unprecedented times for the world, I want to send a message of hope, together with my community and colleagues, and intend to contribute towards positive change.”
“I want to warmly welcome Matthew M Williams to the beautiful Maison Givenchy,” continued Renaud de Lesquen, CEO and President of Givenchy. “I am convinced that, with his unapologetic approach to design and creativity and in great collaboration with the Maison’s exceptional ateliers and teams, Matthew will help Givenchy reach its full potential.”
In his new role as creative director, Williams will be responsible for much of the same tasks that Keller set to accomplish as artistic director: overseeing and developing the creative output of the menswear, womenswear and accompanying accessories, plus the brand image. He may also be expected to bring about major growth for the house; as Business of Fashion reported, former Givenchy CEO Philippe Fortunato stated in 2018 that parent company LVMH was aiming to grow Givenchy to Dior-like size, meaning revenue of approximately €2 billion ($2.14 billion) at the time.
LVMH doesn’t release individual revenue reports for most of its brands (Louis Vuitton and Dior excluded), but independent analysis firm Owler currently estimates revenue of $718 million USD.