With K-pop's Aespa and an exciting creative boss, is it a new era for Givenchy?
The French fashion house enters the Korean craze but it’s the guy who created a three-toe shoe that we should be excited about.
K-pop girl group Aespa may not be a household name just yet but they’ve already caught the eye of one of the biggest French fashion houses.
Earlier this month, the rookie quartet from SM Entertainment officially joined the Givenchy family right after Valentine’s Day as brand ambassadors.
Aespa’s new role as brand ambassadors is the latest in what’s been a growing trend of fashion brands tapping into the popularity of K-pop and K-drama – from BIGBANG's G-Dragon fronting for Chanel, EXO’s Kai for Gucci, and actress Song Hye-kyo for Chaumet and later Fendi.
And then there's Blackpink's members associated with different brands, too – Rose for Saint Laurent, Jennie for Chanel, Jisoo for Dior and Lisa for Celine.
What’s interesting is that it’s only been a few months since Aespa debuted with the release of their single Black Mamba in November last year. But Givenchy’s creative director Matthew M Williams seems confident that the four ladies are worth banking on.
“When I first saw aespa, I was overwhelmed by the energy each member had. As a group, I felt that the firm personality and style of each member of Karina, Giselle, Winter, and Ningning naturally connected with Givenchy's sensitivity. The fashion of aespa means their own colour," he said in a release.
In a way, it seems apt – new faces for a new era under Williams, who took over from former artistic director Clare Waight Keller in June last year.
But while he might be new to Givenchy, he’s been around the block. And trendy K-pop affiliations aside, the bigger coup for the brand is having Williams at the helm.
After all, he runs in the same trendy circles as Louis Vuitton’s Virgil Abloh and Christian Dior’s Kim Jones (Williams famously created the utilitarian buckles for Jones' menswear debut collection at Dior).
The 35-year-old American's impressive resume also includes working with some of the world’s most famous celebrities. Williams was the creative director of Lady Gaga’s creative team Haus of Gaga – he designed some of her most iconic looks, before moving on to work with Kanye West on the rapper’s first clothing brand Pastelle and West’s creative agency Donda.
The American designer also has a womenswear label under his fashionable belt. An LVMH Prize finalist, his brand Alyx made famous rollercoaster buckles in 2018. The luxury streetwear label went on to include a menswear arm, resulting in a change of name to 1017 Alyx 9SM (a rather mouthful of a name that’s actually a tribute to his birthday, his daughter and his first Saint Marks studio.)
Williams’ debut effort for Givenchy in October last year is marked by a surprising anomaly. Three-toe shoes. While it’s anybody’s guess which toe will fit into which toe box, the futuristic take undeniably reimagined the staid stiletto.
Also on full display are exposed G-strings peeking out of low-cut backs and Williams’ highly anticipated hardware that is inspired by love locks on Paris’ Pont des Arts and fused with Givenchy’s 4G emblem.
The imaginative hardware is already spotted on the famous likes of Williams’ inner circle made up of supermodels Kendall Jenner and Bella Hadid, as well as rapper Playboi Carti, exuding their individual brand of cool of course.
“To me, fashion expresses a point of view where formality and informality, construction and comfort co-exist,” Williams had said about his debut effort. “My ethos is about the luxury of infusing clothes with your own personality, not being worn by them.”
But of course, in the day and age of peak K-pop, it doesn’t hurt having one of its rising stars wearing them too.