Matthew Williamson is Quintessential Miami
By laurie brookins
Which isn’t to say Williamson is abandoning that which has made him so popular with the Miami audience, namely his proficient use of color and the sometimes dizzying prints he is fond of whipping into floaty dresses and caftans. Those liquid linens and black crepes on the runway, for example, were offset by fluttery lime chiffon and brilliant florals in deep blue or purple. “And the caftans and beachwear everyone associates with what we do, they’re in our showroom, so they’re still there,” he assures.
And perhaps not so far into the future, you also will find menswear: A capsule collection of men’s cashmere sweaters, T-shirts and scarves just launched exclusively at Harrods, a natural choice for the London-based Williamson. “If it goes well we’ll also approach Barneys or perhaps Colette in Paris,” he says. “I feel like men’s has been a long time coming. I dabbled with it in my H&M collaboration last year, but I’ve wanted to do men’s as long as I can remember, pieces I want to wear myself, just as Diane von Furstenberg and Stella McCartney embody what they do. So we’ll see if this has legs and can develop into a more rounded wardrobe.”
As Williamson segues into thoughts of future collections for men and women alike, his time and attention are equally focused on a book for Rizzoli, due out this fall. He’s been collaborating with Colin McDowell, the former Sunday Times Style columnist who previously has worked with an array of fashion luminaries, from John Galliano to Manolo Blahnik and Jean Paul Gaultier, on similar tomes. “I’ve been collecting all these materials for the book, and it’s quite eye-opening to see where you started and how far you’ve come,” says the 38-year-old Williamson, who launched his label in 1997. “All of a sudden you’re having conversations about, ‘What do we want to say on every page?’ and you realize you’re talking about your life. What I’m discovering is that we’re a bit of a rags-toriches story. But I’m enjoying this journey through the essence of what I’m about.”
As he runs his hand along the jewelry chain that’s been lushly embroidered onto a pale-gray sheath of glistening, polished linen, Williamson smiles. A lovely moment, I think; I must remember to tweet this.
TOP IMAGE: Williamson backstage at the Spring/Summer 2010 runway show in London.
photograph by dan lecca