For those trapped in cities for so long, the holiday scenes we used to take for granted now look like something out of Avatar. “It reminds you how powerful nature is,” the designer said of the lava island.
“We were fitting the collection in Milan, and someone from the studio was like, ‘This collection would be so beautiful on black sand beaches,’” he recalled, on a video call from his Paris apartment.
Williams has been frequenting the Aeolian islands for years. Panarea is his haunt, but he was more than familiar with the otherworldly landscapes of Stromboli, and the inimitable sunset immortalized in his film.
“It’s a sunrise and a sunset: a new beginning for us as a brand, as an industry, the world. It’s progression and succession, and that’s what I’m feeling right now.”
Observing the “evolution over revolution” concept he employs at Alyx, Williams approached his new beginning by going back to his brand’s roots, refining and finessing the silhouettes, textures, and hardware that epitomize it.
The garment dyes and surface effects he works into his streetwear came out reminiscent of things you might see in a volcanic landscape, while lighter cap metal branding featured throughout the collection set Alyx’s industrial character in stone.
But for all the protective attributes those ideas had to offer a post-pandemic dress sense, it was the softness of draped dresses with twist and knot details that felt most sensitive to our reemergent mentality.
Perhaps we’re seeing a softer side to Williams after the Great Reset? The vegetable garden he’s been growing on his sprawling Paris terrace would suggest so. “I’m so into my vegetable garden,” he effused. “I got strawberries going, romaine, cabbage, tomatoes, sweet potato… I harvest them with my kids when they’re here, and we cook in the kitchen.”
At Alyx, Williams is amping up those artisanal values, too. A series of dresses covered in thousands of hand-embroidered glass tube beads weren’t just for show but will be made to order. In recent seasons, similar pieces have been offered online, and Williams detected a demand.
Asked if it’s an effect of his current tenure at Givenchy, he said it goes both ways. “There’s a group of people who love what I do at Alyx, who now love what I do at Givenchy. And there are new supporters from Givenchy that now are aware of Alyx.
In general, as a brand—and when you’re starting to provide one-off pieces that are tens of thousands of euros—that confidence is gonna exist for many years to come.”