Intricate feats of savoir-faire have defined Givenchy since its beginnings in 1952, the house’s namesake founder Hubert de Givenchy learning the art of couture – whereby each garment is sewn entirely by hand by a dedicated team of ‘petit mains’ – from masters of the post-war era, Jacques Fath and Elsa Schiaparelli. 

Seven decades on, Matthew M Williams – current creative director of the house, who rose to fame at his own label 1017 Alyx 9sm – brings this same fastidious approach to his collections for Givenchy, albeit tracing the house’s legacy through a sleek, contemporary lens, where tough elements of metal hardware meet lean silhouettes and smatterings of embellishment. Those who follow the designer on Instagram can see these imaginative leaps: Williams posts galleries that flip between Hubert de Givenchy’s original designs and his own riffs on the house’s archive. 

Introducing the Givenchy TK-360 sneaker

sneaker

The Givenchy TK-360 sneaker 

But Williams is also a designer for whom technical innovation is key – his own take on the historic art of Parisian savoir-faire – epitomised in a new sneaker, the TK-360. A sleek, sporty silhouette recognisable for its bold rounded back, the shoe’s unique shape and fit are achieved from a singular piece of stretch-knit fabric, crafted directly onto the custom-moulded sole (it even extends over the sneaker’s underside, giving the TK-360 a unique tread and entirely monochrome appearance). Initial colours include classic black and white, as well as more vivid shades of acidic yellow, graphite grey, camel, navy, and pale pink. Williams calls it his ‘dream shoe’.

‘There is a sense of savoir-faire for sportswear created at a fashion company like Givenchy that is different from a sportswear company, but no less rigorous,’ Williams tells Wallpaper*. Of the unique design, whereby the knit tread will eventually show signs of wear, he adds, ‘clothes and accessories can have a life where they evolve and change and take on history. The more these shoes wear, the more history they have.’ §