ALYX Spring 2019
At four years old, 1017 Alyx 9SM, designed by Matthew Williams, glided into the twilight of Paris Fashion Week men’s with plenty of news to share. Firstly, the rename; where once the company was known as simply Alyx, the add-ons reflect Williams’s October 17th birthday and the address of his original studio, 9 St. Marks Place, in New York City. Secondly, this was Williams’s debut runway show, and it was packed to the raw concrete ribs with the menswear fashion crowd’s most recognized. Thirdly, and as such, Spring saw Williams’s first dedicated menswear collection. He combined it with women’s. Fourthly, but not least: It was one of the stronger runways of the entire circuit.
Williams’s sensibility is ultra fine-tuned; 1017 Alyx 9SM can theoretically be labeled as streetwear, but really, it’s somewhere higher than that, zooming through a dark ether of precision and bite and conceptual prowess. His show this evening “was meant to really present what we’ve built, the things that define the DNA of the brand,” he said. And in those helices are a few key bonds: provocativeness, but wearable; hardware, sometimes aggressive, but also wearable; and an impressively engineered line of singularity that doesn’t feel so “out there” as to be dismissible. It feels, rather, desirable.
For Spring, skinny leather pants, diamanté-studded bodysuits, denim with free-flying straps or circular patterning down the shins, cropped separates, Chelsea boots with new block heels, and cross-body bags all stood forth. The model Molly Bair’s second look, a patent leather, almost wetsuit-tight T-shirt over paneled and flapping acid-washed jeans, was a notable highlight. A carabiner that appeared on backpacks was oversize and angular, recalling, to this writer, something of a cracked bovine jaw. (A note regarding hardware: Williams’s signature industrial buckling appeared on Kim Jones’s Dior Homme runway yesterday, too.)
House-evolution-wise, Williams suggested a stimulating idea: “There’s this concept of coverage of an object that would normally not be covered.” As a result, he sent out backpacks that had thin nylon protectors netted around them, as well as garments with “big box pleats” to cover the rucksacks the models were carrying. Likewise, exoskeletal supports connecting their ways around his first sneaker collaboration, with Nike. “It’s kind of like an inverse,” added the designer. “Something that would normally be underneath, kind of pushing itself out and still creating a cover.” That led to one of the most interesting queries of the last three weeks, which have seen menswear’s newly crowned kings, its devolution (but not devaluation) of suiting, its neon or rainbow optimism, and so on: Is this thing we call fashion actually obligatorily cyclical, spinning around on an impenetrable crust? Or are we finally allowing for a new thing, a thing we’ve all been thinking of and wanting, to emerge and spread and reset the game for good? Let’s hope for the latter.
Words by: Vouge
Images: 1017 ALYX 9SM