Review of 1017 ALYX 9SM Spring 2023 Men’s Fashion Show
Meet me at the Pool Party
By Angela Baidoo
Swapping the house party for the pool party, Matthew Williams evolves his brand to meet the new mood.
The raw abandoned pool on the north side of Milan was a fitting location for the co-ed 1017 Alyx 9SM collection. Having mastered the art of tailoring as a brand signature, Williams took a more relaxed approach to his craft. In addition to this evolution of brand codes the girls – and guys – now get to party in Alyx, as saccharine sweet pink mini dresses, sheer crochet tops, and satin trousers were paraded poolside.
If the girls want to go out and party in Alyx, that sounds good to me
– Matthew Williams
Speaking to the spirit of celebrating, the very essence of #y2k – which is having its second coming via social media, thanks in no small part to a co-hort of Gen Z content creators and artists, we’re looking at you Dua Lipa – was evident in the collections ultra-fitted bodycon dresses. Taken up as a rallying call post-pandemic, where we are all being encouraged to go out and party like its 1999, Williams backed this sentiment, noting post-show that “If those dresses make you want to go out, then enjoy!”. The dresses in question were mini in length and came in a palette of pink, white, or black and featured asymmetric gathers and knots, and despite a lack of size representation on the runway, these party favourites will likely work on a range of body types and will be much more accessible than say, a tailored blazer. It will be interesting to see which publications will be brave enough to style these looks in editorials that open up the #y2k aesthetic to an audience above a size 0.
Whether intentional or not, there was also an unexpected synergy (mini dresses and skirts withstanding, then again maybe not) between the genders, as many of the pieces had an inclusivity that would allow them to work for all. Slouch-fit cargo pants in denim and utility twills , oversized biker jackets embossed with the Alyx logo, and boxy gilets with weatherproof taped zippers are easy wins, but take it a step further and a number of the collections updates on the ubiquitous tank top (another ‘garment-gone-viral’ thanks to Mrs Prada) with asymmetric strap could be worn by both Alyx’s male, female, or fluid customer.
Known for his razor-sharp tailoring it was refreshing to witness the designer actively leaning into a new way of working and perfecting the art of imperfection. The raw finish on denim and outerwear continues to give the brand the edge that it has always possessed, but more than that Williams felt “..they give the garments soul”, that indecipherable ‘something’ which can take a classic denim jacket, into the realm of forever wardrobe piece.
I’ve always loved raw-cut hems, those kind of imperfections give mood and energy to the pieces”
– Matthew Williams
Last season we saw Williams play with colour, through the continuation of lipstick red and the introduction of lavendar, this season the designer pulled no punches, safe bets were out and hyper-brights were in, as a flash of neon yellow cut-through the sea of monochrome for a visceral hit that was also applied across clutch bags and laced-to-the-thigh pumps. This addition is one that the designer should continue to explore, as his brand loyalists who will have become accustomed to his all black ensembles – that are never basic, for they hide layer-upon-layer of highly technical construction – will surely appreciate the uplift that a neon-yellow maxi dress worn under an elongated biker will bring to their wardrobe rotation.
Speaking to the brands social media tagline “In search of a meaningful connection”, just before the show a post went out giving the first 150 fans who responded a chance to attend. But with a Google:earth image accompanying the post, the brands more technically savvy followers worked out the location and turned up anyway hoping to score entry, and in a move out-of-step with a typical fashion show, yet in-step with the industry’s evolution, it seems that at Alyx at least, everyone is invited to the party.