If fashion in general — both menswear and womenswear — has been quit obsessed with bringing back the noughties, Givenchy creative director Matthew Williams is taking it a decade further with the house’s spring/summer 2023 menswear collection. There was an apparent 1990s aesthetic to the collection and it wasn’t just in its styling choices.
The Givenchy spring/summer 2023 menswear show was held within the grounds of the École-Militaire in Paris. A set (a relatively modestly sized one for a house like Givenchy) was built that was completely done in white with just about an inch of water lining the runway. Add in the mist that emitted from the central structure of the set, and it was ripe for a hip hop-influenced pop music video of the 1990s.
“This show is a reflection of myself and the men who surround me, from my close friends to the artists who inspire my work,” Williams reveals in the collection notes. “It’s a dialogue with the time and culture that shape the way men dress today and tomorrow; the way new generations embrace and evolve the archetypes and dress codes of the past through their own progressive outlook.”
That last observation may seem rather obvious but it’s indicative of the times that we’re in. As much as Gen Zs have been (quite offhandedly) deriding the fashion sense of millennials and beyond on social media, they’ve also been exploring and bringing back certain silhouettes and adopting them as part of their own styles.
At Givenchy, the spring/summer 2023 menswear collection was a remix of that idea — readopting those 1990s-era trends and recontextualising them for current times and possibly, beyond. A lot of those design tropes were at play, with the most obvious being the pairing of boxers (simply branded with the 4G emblem right smack in the middle) with low-rise trousers such that the boxers were clearly visible. Then there were the heavily buckled belts that, for as much as Williams is known for his modern hardware elements, seemed too on the nose of the era. The G-Lock (a Williams design since his first collection) though, was cleverly reimagined as an oversized pendant fixed to a chain.
Yet, despite the throwback to pre-noughties fashion, the spring/summer 2023 menswear collection felt concise and in some cases, minimal. The collection was perhaps his most overtly branded one yet — ‘Givenchy’ was splashed across pieces in almost every look in the line-up — but there was a steely focus on the cut and tailoring of the ready-to-wear pieces. Flourishes such as the branding and the pairing of accessories felt thoughtfully considered; not that multiple, seemingly decorative zips on highlighter-hued leather trousers were functional, but nothing felt overly done.
On the sneakers front, the previously teased TK-MX made its official debut on the runway. Together with a new iteration of the all-knit TK-360 — a slightly higher cut simply called the TK-360-MID — they cemented Williams status as one of streetwear community’s foremost authority on all things that are out of the usual mainstream consciousness. A new rain boot silhouette was also introduced, with a form that also referenced the TK series. Crafted from vulcanised rubber, the rain boots debuted in a range of colours as well as both lace or lace-less interations.
We’ve been familiarising ourselves with Williams’s vision of Givenchy as part of co-ed runway shows and presentations. The spring/summer 2023 menswear runway show was the first standalone menswear show by Williams. It’ll be interesting to see how the womenswear collection will shape up to be separated from its menswear half. But for a solo menswear debut, it felt like a cleaner, more focused collection and perhaps in some ways, a reset for things to come.
View the full Givenchy spring/summer 2023 menswear collection in the gallery below.