Matthew Williams of 1017 Alyx 9SM (his brand’s full name) didn’t seem to attach much meaning to his venue—a stunning, modernized bank building—yet two words projected loud and clear: big and business. This is what Alyx is fast becoming and what the combined men’s and women’s collections encapsulated with their assertive silhouettes and high-fashion positioning.
As the penultimate show of a strong week, Alyx was something to behold, arousing the glory days of Thierry Mugler in the 1980s while attracting the next-generation crowd that has brought incontrovertible energy back to Paris. For now, at least, Williams is committing to a more formal form of urban than his peers. For him, tailoring is not just an outward statement, but an inward reflection of mastery. “Tailoring is a really difficult thing to do as a young brand,” he said. “Some of the construction we’re attempting to do is trying to find our own language. I think it’s a nice challenge to define what that is for us.”
Arguably, his challenge is how to achieve that difference without appearing over-designed. From past visits with him, before he switched to a show format, he revealed his process as methodical, almost obsessional for the way he will privilege one detail over another. Chances are, he vetoed at least a dozen chains before landing on the one that repeats as a parabolic flourish on several of these looks. Other details—elongating panels, zippered knees, hammered hardware, sculpted heels—were fine-tuned in order to be fully integrated, not gratuitous. Elsewhere, outdoorsy pieces that harked back to earlier collections blended in while the draped dresses towards the end remained slightly unresolved.
But that’s just surface stuff; anyone who read the accompanying notes would have learned about the metal hardware sourced from a sustainable factory, the near-waterless leather-dyeing process, the three-dimensional printed seams and myriad more examples of innovation adding functional and psychological value to the clothes. Or, as stated in this succinct yet thorough document, “We engage with systems, scales, and soul.”
Williams, for his part, also suggested the designs gain dimension from those wearing them. “Our casting is a real mixture of models and friends and family—those people’s energy really brings out the clothes.” See Model 54, aka his wife Jennifer, who wore a croc-embossed jacket (the treatment of the season) and a corresponding translucent skirt. Enough of the guests knew her that cheers echoed through the space as though she were an international celebrity. It was a telling moment. Alyx, now acting all grown up, remains as independent and in-the-know as always.
Source: VOGUE RUNWAY