NEW YORK — After just four years in the business, London-based Matthew Williamson feels that the fickle fashionistas there regard him as something of an elder statesman. But that’s only one of the reasons he’ll leave London to show his collection on the runway in New York come February.
“It’s a little suffocating in London right now,” said Williamson, who met with 7th on Sixth’s Fern Mallis last week in Manhattan to arrange the details of his defection. “The U.S. is a natural place to go because of the relationships I have here with celebrities, retailers and the press.”
Williamson also hopes the move will bring his work the kind of exposure that could lead to a position at a more established house. Since starting out, Williamson has financed his label independently, following in the footsteps of independents Sir Paul Smith and Vivienne Westwood. But lately, the John Galliano-Alexander McQueen-Stella McCartney career trajectory has been looking better and better. “I would love to design for a house if the deal were right,” Williamson said.
And while the tourists might hesitate before returning to New York, Williamson thinks bringing his line of colorful, whimsical clothes to the city will be great for business.
“Particularly in light of what’s happened, people here have told me that this is exactly what they want to see — fantasy, clothes that are uplifting,” he said. “I think there’s room on the New York schedule for what I do.”