Matthew Williamson

Matthew Williamson PortraitAhead of his LFW shows, StyleNest took Five Minutes to chat to British designer Matthew Williamson.

Born in Manchester, Matthew Williamson graduated from Central St Martins in June 1994 with a BA in Fashion Design and Printed Textiles. He went on to found his fashion house in February 1997 along with CEO, Joseph Velosa.

In September 1997 Matthew Williamson showed his infamous debut collection, ‘Electric Angels’, during London Fashion Week. Bias cut dresses and separates in exotic shades worn by models Kate Moss, Helena Christensen and Jade Jagger set the pace for the highly recognisable Matthew Williamson signature aesthetic.

Spring 2011 saw the launch of the diffusion line, MW by Matthew Williamson – a more affordable collection to target a wider global audience. 

The luxury fashion house Matthew Williamson Ltd now produces four women’s ready-to-wear collections annually and currently has a customer portfolio which includes 170 prestigious wholesale accounts around the world.

London Fashion Week is fast approaching. How is everything going on the run up?

It’s the usual nerve racking mix of seeing the collection coming together and wanting to spend all my time on this and  then having to think about all the other aspects that go towards making a successful show like lighting, set, invites, soundtrack, models and guest list.

So many brilliant designers start their careers in London. What is it about the city that nurtures talent so well?

London has long been a melting pot of cultures and has a strong sense of history everywhere so there is so much to draw on from the city itself. We then have a very strong fashion college program here in the UK and these two things combined really help to create the perfect platform for emerging talent.

You collaborated with Charlotte Olympia for the shoes at your last show. Will you be teaming up again for AW12?

Actually, starting with SS13 I will be launching my first Matthew Williamson shoe collection which is exciting.

Have you got any other plans for collaborations coming up in 2013?

Yes I will be launching a wallpaper and furnishing fabrics collaboration with Osbourne and Little which I am excited about.

Your collections are always so colourful and full of vibrant prints. What inspires you? 

I am always drawn to interesting colours and textures, my degree at St Martins was in fashion, textile and print so I suppose it’s always been the basis which forms my work. Inspiration can be anything really but usually it comes when I am away somewhere just trying to forget about work.

You refer to London as your home. What are your three favourite London hot-spots?

I love so many spots but I am always drawn to;

  • Lemonia, Primrose Hill
  • La Bodega Negra in Soho
  • And the Connaught Bar, Mayfair.

Which designers do you admire most? And which young designer/new designer at LFW should our readers be looking out for?

I’ve always admired Dries Van Noten from both a business and a creative perspective. There are so many fantastic young designers out there right now that I couldn’t isolate just one but it’s great to see a new generation come to fruition.

You launched your label back in 1997 and now have a hugely successful brand. What was the turning point in your career?

I would say opening my first flagship store on Bruton Street in 2004 was a turning point- it provided the opportunity to get a full 360 view of running a business and being a retailer as well as designer has helped keep focus on who we are as a brand.

How will you relax when the show’s over?

Sleep and I’ll turn my email off for a few days.

What is your motto?

I don’t have a motto per se, but I try and remind myself as often as possible to  see the glass half full instead of half empty.

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