Since the Moncler Genius project launched in 2018, each designer in its creative stable has brought a new perspective—and a new group of fans—to the maker of the iconic puffer jackets. Matthew Williams, of 1017 ALYX 9SM (and now, Givenchy) fame, has injected a heavy dose of street edge tempered with polish and precision. His 6 Moncler 1017 ALYX 9SM capsule borrows from the familiar codes of streetwear, but then subtly subverts, twists and elevates them.
As with his own 1017 ALYX 9SM collections, Williams’s Moncler Genius collaboration is rooted in rigorous, extensive research; the starting point for this latest collection was a deep dive into garment dyeing and manipulation techniques. He tones down the slick sheens and high-vis colours of last year’s collection in favour of a muddier palette of neutrals and blacks. Williams also plays with contrasts, juxtaposing matte surfaces with glossy ones, and padded volumes with streamlined shapes.
On the technical front, progresses include an increased use of recycled nylon in the collection and sleek coats engineered without seams, but the flashiest innovation has to be the metallic effect on one of the jackets, achieved through coatings of Swarovski crystal dust. For Williams, these kinds of experimentation and development are what drive this partnership. “Working with Moncler means a lot of technology, applied to luxury garments that are meant to be wearable. We injected our own take into these principles, fusing our respective identities,” he says.
In terms of the ALYX identity, it comes through most distinctively in the deliberate emphasis on hardware. The buckle that Williams made as famous as a logo and as covetable as an It bag is highlighted, through bold, clever placements throughout—such as on narrow trousers that are double-belted and on parkas that are cinched close.
The way Williams subtly toys with volumes and proportions is also in line with his approach to his main line. Puffers are cropped super short or wrapped close to the chest with bandeaus. Other looks feature jackets that can be shrugged off and suspended at the back of the waist like some kind of futuristic bustle.
It’s this understanding of how to balance the cutting edge with the classic and the commercial that makes Williams one of the most in-demand names in fashion today—that magic touch, deployed at his own brand all the way to Moncler Genius, Dior Men and now Givenchy, cementing his status as fashion’s new Renaissance man.
This article was originally published in Harpers Bazaar.