LONDON — Matthew Williamson marks the 15th anniversary of hislabel and its color-drenched, embellished designs this month, and isplanning a slew of new projects to help celebrate the milestone.
ComeOct. 31, the designer will launch a short film that features SiennaMiller, Poppy Delevingne and Valentine Fillol-Cordier onNet-a-porter.com, with the women wearing limited-edition dresses byWilliamson, embellished with Swarovski crystals.
Shot by thedirecting duo Tell No One, the Swarovski-sponsored film captures thewomen and dancers from London’s Royal Ballet company wandering aroundthe Cotswolds country house Aynhoe Park, in what Joseph Velosa, chiefexecutive and cofounder of Matthew Williamson, described as a“dreamscape” narrative.
Williamson added: “We wanted [the film]to capture the essence of our brand and everything we’ve achieved overthose 15 years.” Once the film has aired on Net-a-porter, shoppers willbe able to buy the limited-edition dresses from the site, along withthree embellished clutch bags.
On the product front, this yearwill also see Williamson branch out into new categories of shoes,leather handbags and interiors, through three new licenses. Williamsonhas signed licenses with GMI USA Corp. for footwear; TLG Brands U.K. forhandbags, and Osborne & Little to produce a line of wallpapers andhome furnishing fabrics.
“We’re a brand that’s now got a richDNA. There’s a history, there’s an archive and there’s a real sense —both from a creative point of view and a business perspective — thatthose categories feel right,” said Williamson. “The designs [will have]all the same sort of elements that I have in my ready-to-wear, but mykey objective is to add new layers, freshness and keep things up to dateand moving forward.”
Velosa added: “We have naturally evolvedinto a lifestyle brand over the years and the time feels right to addrelevant strands to our fashion core. We have three stand-alone storesand two franchise partners, and they particularly wanted accessories tobe part of the mix, so we have a full offer.”
Part of theItalian-made footwear collection will be shown during Williamson’sspring 2013 runway show here on Sunday and will launch at wholesale inmid-September. The handbag collection will launch during fall 2013 andthe interiors line will launch in September 2013. Prices for thecollections haven’t been decided, but Velosa said they will be within“the designer bracket.” Velosa expects accessories to eventually make upbetween 20 and 30 percent of the label’s business.
Williamsonnoted that the shoes to be shown on the runway take their cues fromRajasthani embroidery and beading and will sport a “sculptural heel.”Williamson is working with footwear designer Joanne Stoker on thecollection. The bags will be a collection of day styles while Williamsonis finalizing designs for the Osborne & Little line. “I’m riflingthrough my archive of all the prints and putting forward a short list ofwhat could translate into furnishings and wallpaper,” the designersaid.
As for the imminent spring read-to-wear collection,Williamson said that he looked to the work of New York-based artistShane McAdams for inspiration. “He’s doing these incredible coloredcanvases that are like distorted landscapes.…His work feels like mywork,” he said, adding of the collection, “There’s a lot of texture andpattern and color, [and it’s] of course referencing things I’ve done inthe past, but hopefully it’s going to have a very fresh slant.”
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