LONDON — Matthew Williamson marks the 15th anniversary of his label and its color-drenched, embellished designs this month, and is planning a slew of new projects to help celebrate the milestone.
This story first appeared in the September 14, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Come Oct. 31, the designer will launch a short film that features Sienna Miller, Poppy Delevingne and Valentine Fillol-Cordier on Net-a-porter.com, with the women wearing limited-edition dresses by Williamson, embellished with Swarovski crystals.
Shot by the directing duo Tell No One, the Swarovski-sponsored film captures the women and dancers from London’s Royal Ballet company wandering around the Cotswolds country house Aynhoe Park, in what Joseph Velosa, chief executive 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 over those 15 years.” Once the film has aired on Net-a-porter, shoppers will be able to buy the limited-edition dresses from the site, along with three embellished clutch bags.
On the product front, this year will also see Williamson branch out into new categories of shoes, leather handbags and interiors, through three new licenses. Williamson has signed licenses with GMI USA Corp. for footwear; TLG Brands U.K. for handbags, and Osborne & Little to produce a line of wallpapers and home furnishing fabrics.
“We’re a brand that’s now got a rich DNA. 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 — that those categories feel right,” said Williamson. “The designs [will have] all the same sort of elements that I have in my ready-to-wear, but my key objective is to add new layers, freshness and keep things up to date and moving forward.”
Velosa added: “We have naturally evolved into a lifestyle brand over the years and the time feels right to add relevant strands to our fashion core. We have three stand-alone stores and two franchise partners, and they particularly wanted accessories to be part of the mix, so we have a full offer.”
Part of the Italian-made footwear collection will be shown during Williamson’s spring 2013 runway show here on Sunday and will launch at wholesale in mid-September. The handbag collection will launch during fall 2013 and the interiors line will launch in September 2013. Prices for the collections haven’t been decided, but Velosa said they will be within “the designer bracket.” Velosa expects accessories to eventually make up between 20 and 30 percent of the label’s business.
Williamson noted that the shoes to be shown on the runway take their cues from Rajasthani embroidery and beading and will sport a “sculptural heel.” Williamson is working with footwear designer Joanne Stoker on the collection. The bags will be a collection of day styles while Williamson is finalizing designs for the Osborne & Little line. “I’m rifling through my archive of all the prints and putting forward a short list of what could translate into furnishings and wallpaper,” the designer said.
As for the imminent spring read-to-wear collection, Williamson said that he looked to the work of New York-based artist Shane McAdams for inspiration. “He’s doing these incredible colored canvases that are like distorted landscapes.…His work feels like my work,” he said, adding of the collection, “There’s a lot of texture and pattern and color, [and it’s] of course referencing things I’ve done in the past, but hopefully it’s going to have a very fresh slant.”