Matthew Williams has traded his signature hardware for a serious dose of glitz. In a surprising turn for the usually pretty pared-back brand, the designer at 1017 Alyx 9SM dotted his fall silhouettes with hand-embroidered diamanté crystals in Western-inspired curved patterns, snaking around shoulders or dripping along trouser legs.
“It just kind of felt right for this season,” said Williams backstage, where he was joined by his young daughter Alyx — the one after which the label is named. The designer tapped into his childhood in Pismo Beach, Calif., where Western wear was de rigueur. “My grandmother used to wear a lot of rhinestones, so I’m into that because of her,” he said.
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Added onto his sleek workwear-inspired looks, it made for an interesting mix. Rhinestones elevated basic denim pieces, such as a plain jacket worn with a matching pair of five-pocket jeans, into standout looks, also adding texture to plain black or khaki raincoats created in collaboration with Mackintosh. Both male and female models wore sparkly hair clips on the side of their head, contrasting with the starkness of a black faux ostrich leather coat or a multi-pocket beige parka.
For women, backless satin slipdresses with a single twisted front strap hinted at Nineties minimalism, as did a pillowy-soft long white down jacket and Bella Hadid’s slouchy jacket worn over a shirt and tie. A men’s look featured a pair of impressive leather-treated poplin dungarees, the creased feel of the natural fabric coated with a leather lacquer. Some models sported neatly tucked-in earphones, a collaboration with Bang & Olufsen that is dropping in stores this week.
There were more experimentations with color and patterns than usual. These included a mustard coat and a blush pink suit, which were both achieved through garment dye, as well a leopard print pattern made to look like kiss marks on a soft knitted sweater.
It was a fine balancing act between 1017 Alyx 9SM’s signature streetwear heritage — which was pretty absent this season, just perceivable in the cuts and general unfussiness of the looks — and a more pulled-together, evening-focused aesthetic. The collection signaled a new push for the brand, more tailoring-centric, quietly redefining the meaning of formality — and it suited it well.
Launch Gallery: Alyx Men’s Fall 2020