Matthew Williamson; What’s Going On?

“My muse is right there,” said Matthew Williamson, pointing at Maria Helvin, fashion icon of the seventies and once-wife of the famed photographer, David Bailey. “I was looking at photos of her by David Bailey in the book Chasing Rainbows. I wanted this to be a real, honest collection, going back to our DNA, a celebration of what we do with strength and passion,” he said.

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The influence of the 1970s has dominated the catwalks of both New York and London over the past two weeks, and no-one does seventies styling better than Williamson. The maxi dresses, the flared trousers, the sunglasses; all had that unmistakably Williamson touch.

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So too did the bright patterns, the florals, and the richly tropical colour palette. This was Williamson pulling out all the stops, and going back to the core of his vision with vibrant pieces of the highest quality. “I have been doing this a long time, and the trick is to not make a collection repetitive and boring,” he said backstage. “We have to infuse some freshness in it, and here there are no curveballs, no tricks. This all came straight from the heart.”

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The result of such a venture are these, pieces which strike just the right balance between vintage bohemian and urban businesswoman. The silhouette is structured and classic, with figure-hugging pencil skirts, artfully tailored blouses and dresses nipped neatly in at the waist.

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However, the Williamson touch transforms anything “normal” into something that is in itself a work of art. Those pencil skirts are bought to life with flowers and blushes of pink. Those blouses are slit down to the midriff, or cleverly wrapped so as to show only the merest triangle of skin. As for the dresses, their explosive, vivacious, covered in prints of leaves and flowers, dripping with dark feathers or the beautiful tapestry and embroidery detailing for which Williamson’s clothes are known.

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A kaleidoscope of colour and glamour, this is sure to be a collection that won’t be forgotten quickly.

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