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2010 October 21

A Moment With...Matthew Williamson

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(NEW YORK) What can't he do? In the last month, Matthew Williamson has shown his Spring 2011 Matthew Williamson collection, debuted a line of handbags for Bulgari, announced an upcoming diffusion line called Muse by Matthew Williamson, and celebrated an exhibition in his honor at London's Somerset House. But that's not all. Williamson made a trip across the pond for last night's party for his new Rizzoli book Matthew Williamson, penned by Colin McDowell. The Daily checked in with the self-proclaimed jack of all trades.

So you have your main line, a new diffusion line, a handbag line for Bulgari, an exhibition at Somerset House, and now a book. How are you doing it all?
I’m going on holiday next week! I’m going to the Maldives. I genuinely really need a break. As you’ve pointed out, we’ve been flat-out for a good year and a half working on various projects.

How do you manage your time?
I’m quite multi-faceted. I like to do more than one thing at a time, I guess. You’re either good at that or bad, but I’m not one to focus on one thing. I’d get bored—as my mother often reminds me! They’re relevant things, and things that are necessary for the benefit of the company, and I think that’s necessary now to reach different facets of your brand.

How do you top this, then? What’s next?
We have the diffusion line! It’s in the really early stages, but we’ll have the collection for Fall ’11. We’ve now come up with the concept, and I’m working heavily with the atelier in Italy. It’s kind of intended to be the brand DNA of the main line but at a lower price point. That kind of younger sister, slightly edgier collection.

Will it have its own runway show as well?

Oh, god no. [Laughs] You’re making me draw my champagne at the thought! Not initially, anyway. We’ll have agents selling it, and we’re hoping it will have kind of a global presence, and then who knows? We’ll see how it goes.

How involved are you in the line? You have so many projects going on, and diffusion lines are so often just passed off onto a design team…
I’m too involved! When it’s your own business, you kind of from the get-go become involved in every part. I’ve had to become a jack of all trades. There’s no one above me—it’s just me and Joseph [Velosa, Williamson’s business partner and the company’s CEO]. Joseph’s hugely creative—not that he’d ever admit that—but he’s often the person I come to get his opinion. And vice versa; if he’s got cash flow problems, believe it or not, he comes to me.

How do you think the book came out?

I’m really proud of it. It’s a beautiful book. It sort of charts my career from my humble beginnings in Manchester, through to St. Martins and up to the present day. It’s got contributions from Anna Wintour and Glenda Bailey and Diane von Furstenberg, and Sienna [Miller] wrote the foreward. It’s written by Colin McDowell.

Was it a trip down memory lane putting it all together?
Yeah, it was kind of strange and emotional. I’ve labored over every page, every sentence and every image. I felt that that was necessary for it to be something I’m proud of. I didn’t want it to turn it into someone else’s vision. So love it or hate it, it’s what I’m about.

Anything you didn’t want to include? Any old pictures?
[Laughs] Yeah, there’s a really dodgy one of me in there! I quite like the images of me the further back they are, because of course I’m younger, but there’s one pretty dodgy one of me at St. Martins. But it’s history!

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