Last night designer to the jet set, Matthew Williamson launched his limited edition collection with Swarovski and Net-a-Porter in celebration of his 15 year anniversary. Gathering his glossy posse of fans from Poppy Delevingne to Cat Deeley for a chic soiree at Nobu in Mayfair, Matthew treated us to Lychee Martinis and a mini film premiere. Starring Sienna Miller, Poppy and Andrea Riseborough, the short, created to support the launch of the collection will be available to view on net-a-porter later next week.
We caught up with the Mancunian designer and got his take on Kate Middleton’s style, ambition and the worst fashion trends.
1. Do you have a muse?
MW: No. I find working with one person in my mind a little limiting. I have many muses!
2. If you could give women one piece of fashion advice what would it be?
MW: It’s really hard to say. I guess it would be something really clichéd like don’t try to too hard- that’s my instinct, less is more. But then at the same time, think it through, fashion is worth considering – just don’t try too hard!
3. Of all the women who have worn your designs which were you more excited about?
MW: I’ve got to say someone other than Sienna haven’t I?! But really I do get excited every time I see someone wearing my clothes. Even if I see someone on the street I go ooooo! It’s not always about celebrity – I’ve been excited about everyone who looks good in my clothes from Beyoncé to a girl I once saw sat in Claridges wearing one of my jackets. Whenever I see someone wearing my clothes I always try and tell them they look lovely.
4. What are you most proud of in your career?
MW: Each time I’ve put a collection out I’m proud. I’m also proud that were still here 15 years later and that we have a thriving British fashion business.
5. What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learnt in fashion?
MW: I could write a book on it – where d’you wanna start?! If you think when you start out it’s gonna be hard, you have no idea how hard, so brace yourself!
6. What do you like to do in your spare time?
MW: If I’ve got a weekend to myself I’d go just looking around. I mean I’m in my studio all day every day and don’t get the chance to go and see daylight! Last Saturday I went to the Saachi gallery, but I might go to a market, to a part of London I’ve not been to before. I do all kinds of normal stuff – movies, dinner, dog walking.
7. Are there any current fashion trends happening now that you don’t like?
MW: No surprises here, but I’m not really a fan of androgyny. Like when the body gets lost in a voluminous quite masculine way. And wedges – they do my head in.
8. What would you dress Kate Middleton in if you had free rein?
MW: I’d quite like to something really quite high octane. I do like the Duchess when she does a gown and looks quite magical and fairy-tale. So I’d go there, but I’d do something really quite dramatic and high impact. With some vibrant colour and embellishment, of course!
9. Do you have a lifetime ambition that you haven’t yet fulfilled?
MW: I’ve kind of stopped having ambitions now really. I’ve fulfilled my ambitions to date of doing what I do. Over the past 15 years I’ve realised that there’s not really much point setting too many targets. I mean there probably is a 5 year plan up there somewhere unbeknownst to me but I’m kind of a day by day, go with the flow kind of guy.
10. Describe a typical Sunday at your house.
MW: I’d lie in for as long as I could and then have a coffee on my balcony. Then I’d go with my dog to Hampstead and walk from the lower ponds up to Kenwood House if there weather was nice. Then I’d meet a couple of friends for lunch and then we’d all split off and I’d make my way to a gallery or an exhibition or a store I’ve been wanting to see. Or quite possibly I’d be in Homebase buying some screws and a bit of superglue. Very glamorous - you’ll often find me in there!
11. If you could give one piece of advice to anyone starting out in the fashion industry now what would you say?
MW: I would say you need so many ingredients and skills in order to build and maintain a fashion business. But before any of that what you need is a clear vision of who you are, what you want to do as a designer and you need the belief system within yourself that it is good. And if you’ve got that, potentially all the other things might gravitate towards you. But don’t even go there unless your vision is crystal clear and you’re able to say, this is me and it’s different to what else is out there.
12. What’s next on the Matthew Williamson schedule?
MW: I’ve been doing some crazy travelling lately – it’s not always like this believe me! This week I’m off to Lagos Fashion Week where I’m doing a show but Shanghai, Rome and Dubai are all on the schedule over the next week or so. I’m going to be knackered!