On Monday night, Matthew M. Williams stood beside Rosalía at the Met Gala in New York City. The Spanish singer wore a stunning dress by Givenchy, where Williams currently serves as creative director. Her corset was covered in thousands of embroidered beads and cream-colored ruffles. Details like a metal spine, matching earrings, and set of angular black sunglasses gave a modern feel to the Gilded Age-themed look. Like many men at the annual event, Williams took a much more toned-down approach, wearing a black trench coat over a classic suit. Just 48 hours later, he was back in France and looking onward to other projects. Fresh off of a red eye flight, he sat down in front of a video camera on Zoom to discuss Givenchy’s latest footwear innovation, the TK-360.
“It feels different than any other shoe I’ve ever worn,” says Willams when discussing his latest footwear design. The concept was born out of a personal desire to formulate newness. “I think that’s always exciting for me, to try to attempt to make something that I haven’t seen before.”
The TK-360 first debuted back in March during Givenchy’s Fall 2022 presentation at Paris Fashion Week. But it arrives at retailers for the first time today as part of the brand’s Pre-Fall 2022 collection. The $895 design will be available in a variety of tonal colorways from black and white to more seasonal pink and yellow options.
Knit sneakers have been around for years. But where the TK-360 differs, the knit is applied to the entire silhouette down to the sole instead of just being placed over top of a TPU underlay to create the shape of the upper. The shape of the toe is almost reminiscent of a dress shoe. A bulbous heel area, high arch, and Givenchy branding printed on the lateral heel make the design feel unorthodox and new. Williams knows he will have no control over how the pubic will perceive the shoe. He just hopes it can promote more innovation.
“One thing that I feel really grateful for is that I’m in a position to do something that looks really unique or extreme,” he tells Complex. “But to have the community give it a chance to try to understand it and sit with it, that’s a blessing. It can at least, if anything, push the conversation forward. And then somebody will make something even more crazy.”
Willams is already working on future installments. A black pair he is wearing during the interview has a Framis overlay and some additional grooves across the upper that adds a bit of depth to the minimal silhouette. He mentions a high-top variation. He even says he would love to explore the use of Total Knit on other shapes like women’s heels down the line.
Total Knit is the 36-year-old designer’s latest attempt to fuse his perspective with the French fashion house since his tenure began back in June 2020. The Fall 2022 collection may have been the most exemplary case of Williams’ vision being applied to Givenchy since he started. Complex compared some of the graphic pieces to that of Been Trill, the DJ collective turned clothing brand he co-founded in the 2010s. While Williams is far removed from that era of his career, he still thinks back on it fondly.
“It wasn’t thought of as a business or something like that. It was really about community, being together with your friends, throwing fun parties, listening to the music that you wanted to hear, putting on young artists that we were excited by on the mixtapes,” says Willams. “So, I think that time’s always gonna be really precious and special to me because it was a time where I was growing up. I was exploring the world with my friends and it was just a really free and fun time. I think that energy and time will always be an inspirational thing in my heart cause it was such great years.”
We recently got a chance to chat with Williams over Zoom about the new TK-360 sneaker, his nostalgia for Been Trill, how he has grown as a designer with Givenchy, and more.