Since his entry into fashion in 1997 with his remarkable “Electric Angels” collection of kaleidoscopic colours, Matthew Williamson has been a force to reckon with. He reveals his love for Kerala, his phase of wearing gold shoes and being inspired by exotic destinations. He is now adding stationery, gift cards, furniture and active wear to his shelves soon!
I always knew, I wanted to be a designer. There was no other route I wanted to pursue. My mum was the biggest influence on me. She was a woman who knew how to dress, and knew the power of style. I would watch her getting ready—the blouse, skirt, jewellery and the scarf. The shoes were cleaned, the nail varnish done. I loved how my parents used to give me a free reign in my bedroom for my creativity to let loose. It was my private world. I was always changing it. The very last time it was a ghastly lavender shade from Homebase in my mid-teens with silver paint for the woodwork. This was at the time I was wearing gold shoes! I was probably about 15 and obsessed with my appearance, which included my room, where I brought my girlfriends to gossip, listen to music, talk clothes and make little bits of fashion. I was very proud of my room. I even made the curtains! I’ve always loved interiors.
My first collection in 1997, was built with no real agenda or laboured structure, but was more of a reflection of where I was at that time. The clothes I made, were simply intended to make women stop and take a look, and to feel feminine and unique wearing them.
Every collection I have ever done has been initially inspired by nature in one form or another. But the more exotic the inspiration, the better. Exotic countries and sun-drenched landscapes are really what capture my imagination and lead me to delve into different cultures from around the world. I always return to my studio, weaving the things I saw into my own visual language.
I have happy memories of holidays with my parents and sister, as a child. But it was really with Joseph Velosa (CEO of Matthew Williamson) where I developed my wanderlust. I love so many places— from India to Morocco. It’s hard to name a favourite. I find inspiration in the unexpected when travelling. It’s not necessarily the typical sunset or a white sand beach, but unique finds in markets, or colour combinations in architecture. I am always on the lookout.