Manchester-born Matthew Williamson founded his luxury fashion house in 1997, instantly marking himself out as a designer to watch with his acclaimed debut collection. Alongside a spell as creative director at Emilio Pucci, Matthew has been nominated as Designer of the Year three times at the British Fashion Awards.
“The key for any new designer looking to make a bold impression is to stand out, doing something new and unique for the time. My first show really seemed to catch that zeitgeist, and I’ve been building on that ever since. It’s important to know what you have to say in design from the start, because then you build on solid foundations. I’ve always been true to my fundamental aesthetic principals – an unabashed love of colour and prints. The prevailing trends when I began were for dull, minimalist, utilitarian clothing. But I love clothes full of texture, pattern and colour that are uplifting and give the wearer a sense of escapism. I believe that’s what made them stand out. I see the extrovert quality and the vibrant colour palette in my designs as a celebration.”
“London remains an epicentre for fashion, as it’s a melting pot of cultures, history and liberal thinking. As the capital of an island, it has a history of standing apart from the crowd and also the cultural history of being confident in its position. The London fashion world still draws from that cultural heritage, so the fashion is unique and exciting, and designers here are often the most inventive and creative because they’re surrounded by that spirit. I love living and working in London, especially visiting places such as Spitalfields and Borough markets. And Hampstead Heath, near where I live, is great for restaurants.”
ON THE E-TYPE
“For me, the E-type is the perfect combination of good looks and high performance. It’s an absolute classic of 1960s motoring, which still looks as irresistible today as it did when it was first launched, back in 1961. The elongated lines and its low centre of gravity really stand out, and the technology and innovation it had were groundbreaking for the day. Its associations have now become absolutely iconic in motoring.”