Q: What was the initial inspiration for the new Fall/Winter collection?
MW: This season I wanted to continue the two key themes of shape and texture from my Pre-Fall ’09 collection. The silhouette is fairly extreme, with the
oversized outerwear and knitwear balancing out with nipped tulip skirted dresses and long lean trouser shapes. The waistline in particular is defined by strong tailored lines, wide heavily beaded belts, or simply by the considered placement of the prints. The ‘power’ shoulder has also returned for Winter, particularly seen in the zig zag wool weave, where the chevron curved seams emphasize the strong lines.
Again, with the theme of texture, I have played on extremes to create an eclectic yet luxurious look. Much of the outerwear has a deeply tactile nature, with natural furs, heavy tweed and mohair giving a glamorous volume. This is balanced and complimented by the high shine metallic brocades, silk shirts, and fluid-like sequin dresses at the close of the show.
Q: You are known for your love of color – can you describe your choice of palette this season?
MW: Much of the collection is made of high quality natural wools, furs and cottons, and I wanted to echo this ‘organic’ sentiment with the colors I choose. Winter creams, ash, and pebble are all present along with the deeper hues of bitter chocolate, Bordeaux reds and rich purples. In a way this is a much more defined color palette than I am used to designing with, but the shots of watermelon and kingfisher blue brightens the collection and brings the signature Matthew Williamson in!
Q: But there is a definite shift in focus to your new collections. Can you explain this change?
MW: I would say that there is definitely a moving prints, beads and color that are synonymous with my label.
Q: Will you preserve this direction?
MW: My design philosophy is similar today to when I started in 1997, and that’s really about me creating collections for women to wear that are very uplifting and celebratory and give the wearer a sense of escapism. I like clothes that are full of texture, pattern and color. The prevailing trends when I began were for dull, minimalist, utilitarian clothing. I believe what made my label and designs stand out was this colorfulness and striking contrast to that current trend. I have always kept true to this design aesthetic, as I believe it is important to have integrity as a designer in order for people to understand your brand.
Q: What will you most look forward to about your return to London Fashion Week this September?
MW: The British Fashion Council asked if we would return to London this season for their 25th anniversary celebrations. We were very happy to do so alongside such international power labels such as Burberry, and are excited about all the celebrations that will be taking place around Fashion Week. The move to the more central venue of Somerset House is also fantastic news, an elegant setting in which to show the collections. I am looking forward to having my family and friends being able to attend the show to support me.
Q: How has the recession influenced your natural style?
MW: As a brand, we are fortunate to have a loyal and growing customer base. I have always remained true to my fundamental aesthetic principals, each season showing an unabashed love of colour and print. The extrovert quality in my designs could be seen as overly decadent in times such as these, but I see it as a celebration and a reminder to people of the more joyful aspects of life.