TWINKLE TOES: Julien Macdonald is more au fait with dressing people in sparkles than wearing them himself, but the London-based designer will have a chance to shine this fall when he joins a selection of celebrities on the show that pairs them with professional dancers in weekly competitions.
Macdonald, who replaced Alexander McQueen at Givenchy in 2001, is no stranger to the small screen — he appeared as a judge on the U.K.’s version of “Project Runway,” and he was also a judge on “Britain’s Next Top Model.”
“As I talk to you, I’m standing here in a sparkly black lace top and stretch high-waist trousers,” said Macdonald from rehearsals in London. “I was always a bit of a ‘Billy ‘Elliot’ character growing up. My mother really wanted me to know how to dance so I would be the only young man in a church hall on Saturdays with 50 girls dancing. Unfortunately, I was never any good.
“I was a bit reluctant at first,” he said. “I said, ‘I’m a fashion designer. Am I really going to put myself out there to be laughed at by millions of people?’ But I want to learn how to dance the dances my parents would when we’d go on family holidays to Blackpool; they would go to the Tower Ballroom and waltz. And I’ve always wanted to learn how to salsa and Tango. And, you know, you only have one life.”
Macdonald, who was nominated for a Laurence Olivier Award for the sparkling costumes he created for Richard Alston Dance Company’s “Shimmer,” and collaborated with the English National Ballet on costumes for the Queen’s Coronation celebrations, said it was time to “turn it around and wear a little sparkle” himself.
Model Abbey Clancy, a favorite of Katie Grand’s, having appeared in editorials and films for “LOVE” magazine, will join other guest celebrities including Sophie Ellis-Bextor, former Bond girl Fiona Fullerton, and rugby player Ben Cohen, among others.
The first show of the season will air on BBC One at 6:50 p.m. GMT, Saturday September 7.