Having worked with Matthew M. Williams for well over a decade, Nick Knight understood the Givenchy artistic director's vision for the brand's illusory A/W 22 campaign better than any other image-maker could have. Under the hazy light of dusk, echoes of old Hollywood glamour play out against kitsch floral wallpaper and a leopard print backdrop, mixing worlds as seamlessly as Williams combines dress codes.
Knight's images and fashion film reflects the multi-faceted universe that Williams has been building at Givenchy since his debut in 2020, where desirable collections tie together contrasting aesthetics from the house's past and future, from jersey sportswear for the street to Audrey Hepburn-inspired pearl-trimmed dresses. Having photographed the designer's Givenchy debut back in 2020, Knight has once again brought Williams's vision for the luxury French house to life.
When the Givenchy A/W 22 collection first appeared on the runway in the La Défense Arena in Paris, the shimmering, feminine design codes akin to Givenchy's past were modernised with graphic pleated knit skirts, American sportswear was cut into garters, and hard-edged tailored pieces and leather gave a stamp of wearability. These contrasting moods are at the core of Knight's latest campaign, as is music which is close to Williams's heart, having spent much of his early career as the creative director for music icons such as Lady Gaga and Kanye West. Just look to Williams's musician friends wearing Givenchy today, such as Playboi Carti who stars in the new campaign. A Joy Division-era bedsit meets Miami golden hour as musician Ethel Cain and model extraordinaires Liya Kebede and Vittoria Ceretti join Carti in the series of ethereal Givenchy boudoirs created by set designer Andrew Tomlinson. 'The faces in this season’s campaign really represent what Givenchy means today. It’s a uniquely eclectic group: each model is an icon in their own right', the designer explains.
These inner worlds and diverse cast reflect Williams's aspirational, yet real life approach to design. 'It feels like the sort of clothes you might actually see Bella Hadid, for example, wear off camera. They're desirable. Matt is making something in fashion that is pushing the boundaries of creating garments, just like he did with 1017 ALYX 9SM [the brand Williams founded in 2015]. Matt is really interested in new ways of doing things at every level, so taking that into Givenchy is really interesting. The beads, for instance, have 3M material in them, and so reflect light in beautiful ways', Knight explains of his admiration for Williams's work.