Matthew Williamson, the great British fashion designer, does not do understated. And that’s why we at DOMO love him. Taking an exuberant and spirited approach to design, he embraces rich textures, eclectic patterns and kaleidoscopic colours to create collections that reflect his vision of British bohemian glamour.
Williamson was born in Manchester in 1971 and in 1994 graduated from Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in London with a Bachelor’s degree in Fashion Design and Printed Textiles. Just three years later, the up-and-coming designer founded his own brand and most impressively, made his name known when Kate Moss, Jade Jagger and Helena Christiansen modelled his acclaimed debut collection ‘Electric Angels.’ They strutted his brightly coloured bias cut dresses and separates down the catwalk at London Fashion Week.
As a dedicated craftsman, Williamson has profound skill and expertise in embellishment, texture and couture detailing; and as a master of print, he is known for his bold patterns and riotous colours. When it comes to fashion, his collections include ready to wear, couture, leather handbags, sunglasses, scarves, jewellery and belts, all of which express his fascination with glamour and luxury, and travel, nature and exoticism. In 2005, Williamson did a three-year stint as Creative Director of Emilio Pucci, the Florentine fashion house also revered for its prints, patterns and colours.
In recent years, Williamson has added wallpaper, soft furnishings, rugs and furniture to his long list of creative pursuits. His designs for The Rug Company place his signature bold patterns and bright colours underfoot; and his collaboration with Osborne & Little includes a daring and decadent range of fabrics and wall coverings featuring jewel-toned hues, glittering metallics, and exotic and mythical motifs: peacock feathers, dragons, flamingos and Mughal palmettes.
Williamson’s most recent collaboration is with furniture manufacturer Duresta, also an icon of the British design scene. It’s a fashion-forward revival of glamour with vintage-inspired seating and exclusive upholstery that is rich in colour, texture and spectacle. It is Williamson’s first bespoke furniture collection and it expresses both his and Duresta’s attention to craftsmanship, quality and character. It includes four seating series, hand-carved decorative pieces, occasional tables, and five upholstery ranges available in 40 fabrics that are as vibrant and opulent as Williamson’s clothing creations. In plush velvet and peacock-coloured pinks, greens and blues, the textiles feature botanical-inspired motifs such as electric-blue marble butterflies, fuchsia florals and pinwheel prints.
It can be a jungle out there when it comes to fashion and design, but Williamson has the eye, skill and vision to take that jungle – and its parrots, palms, snakes and ocelets – and transform it into an aesthetic that’s bohemian, high glam and mesmerising; an aesthetic unmatched by any other contemporary designer.