Thursday, April 17th
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"Color is the thing that I am most known for. If people pigeonhole me, so what? Long live the pink dress!"
In 1997 British designer Matthew Williamson exploded onto the scene in a blaze of color at London Fashion Week. Originally from Chorlton Manchester, England, Williamson studied fashion design and printed textiles at Central St. Martins College in London. After receiving a bachelor’s degree he started working as a freelance designer for Marni before working at Monsoon Accessorize. By 1997, Williamson, along with business partner Joseph Velosa, launched the label, Matthew Williamson Ltd, with a showing of his 'Electric Angels' collection at London fashion week. Using friends and models Kate Moss, Jade Jagger and Helena Christensen to flaunt his bias cut dresses and separates in striking colors and kaleidoscope prints, all with a bohemian edge. Williamson was an immediate success, quickly becoming one the UK’s leading designer talents, and gaining celebrity clients like Sienna Miller, Thandie Newton, Gwyneth Paltrow, Kate Hudson, and Keira Knightley.
Four years after becoming a British sensation, Matthew Williamson showed at New York fashion week in February 2002, again to critical acclaim. A couple of years later, in March of 2004, he opened his first free standing flagship store in Mayfair, London and can also be found at Bergdorf Goodman, Barneys New York, and Zoë. Williamson was asked to be the creative director for Italian based, house of Pucci in 2005, all the while continuing as head designer for Matthew Williamson Ltd. After three years, Williamson left Pucci to focus on his own companies’ new ventures and expansions, which include a partnership with retailer H&M to design womenswear, swimwear, accessories, and menswear; a first for Williamson. In early 2009 he opened a flagship store in New York City and by the end of the year will open stores in both Dubai and Kuwait.
Matthew Williamson was Elle magazine’s 2004 Designer of the Year and received the 2008 Red Carpet Designer of the Year award at Britain’s Fashion Awards. Due to the worldwide success of his womenswear, footwear, and accessory lines, Williamson was offered partnerships with Samsonite (for luggage), Smythson stationery, and the opportunity to design a mass market collection for British retailer Debenhams. Williamson celebrated his 10th anniversary with a “one off” show at fashion week and an exhibition (a retrospective called Matthew Williamson-10 years in Fashion) at the Design Museum in London.