Matthew Williamson is an English fashion designer. His collections often have an Indian influence, perhaps related to the time Williamson spent working in India for the clothing store Monsoon. He counts celebrities such as Björk, Cat Deeley, Will Buckhurst, Sienna Miller, Kelis, Jade Jagger and Plum Sykes amongst his friends.
He was born in Chorlton-cum-Hardy, Manchester, England, and studied in Manchester until he was 17. He then moved to London to attend school at Central Saint Martin's College of Art and Design, graduating in 1994.
Williamson started his career with two years of work experience with Georgina Von Etzdorf, Marni and Monsoon. In 1996, after his beaded bags and scarves had caught the attention of Kate, Helena and Amber, Williamson launched his own clothes label with business partner Joseph Velosa. Kate, Helena and Jade Jagger later agreed to model in his London Fashion Week debut show, called Electric Angels.
In 2005, he launched his own perfume range. In 2006, Williamson took over as creative director at Pucci. In 2007, a runway show of his designs was incorporated into the video for Prince's song "Chelsea Rodgers" from his Planet Earth album. In 2009, Williamson is cooperating with Swedish clothing company H&M. His collection for men and women, which launches on 23 April will include Williamson's first venture into the menwear market.
He made a guest appearance on season 7 of Project Runway.The episode aired on January 28, 2010.
Graduating from Central St Martins in June 1994 with a BA in Fashion Design and Printed Textiles, his first job following graduation was a freelance design project with Marni. Matthew was then employed by British fashion company, Monsoon and Accessorize.
The luxury fashion house, Matthew Williamson, was founded in February 1997 by designer, Matthew Williamson and CEO, Joseph Velosa.
In September 1997, Matthew Williamson showed his infamous debut collection, 'Electric Angels', during London Fashion Week. Bias cut dresses and separates in exotic shades of tangerine, fuchsia and magenta were worn by models Kate Moss, Helena Christensen and Jade Jagger. This unique collection of bright, intricately detailed pieces defined and set the pace for the highly recognisable Matthew Williamson signature aesthetic.
Following this initial show, Matthew Williamson's collections have continued to gather momentum, cementing his reputation as a designer. In February 2002, Matthew showed for the first time during New York Fashion Week expanding opportunities within the press and attracting a wider audience commercially.
The award-winning Matthew Williamson flagship store first opened at 28 Bruton Street, Mayfair, London in March 2004.
In 2005, Matthew Williamson took over as Creative Director at LVMH owned Italian house, Emilio Pucci, whilst continuing at the design helm of his namesake company. In September 2008 Matthew Williamson returned to London full time in order to focus fully on his own label's forthcoming ventures and expansion.
In August 2007, TSM Capital acquired an equity stake in Matthew Williamson Holdings Ltd. Baugur Group, which invested in the company in 2006, maintains a significant equity interest in the business. TSM Capital made the investment in collaboration with the Aronsson Group. Combined, Matthew Williamson and Joseph Velosa, the company's founders, retain the majority stake in the company.
In September 2007, Matthew Williamson was invited to celebrate the label's 10th year anniversary by returning to London fashion week for an anniversary show which included an exclusive performance by artist, Prince. An exhibition dedicated to his retrospective titled, "Matthew Williamson – 10 Years in Fashion" was also held at the Design Museum, London.
In September 2009, Matthew Williamson was invited by the British Fashion Council to return to celebrate London Fashion Weeks 25th anniversary.
Matthew Williamson won the Red Carpet Designer of the Year at the 2008 British Fashion Awards; previously having been awarded Elle Designer of the Year in 2004 and the 2005 Moet and Chandon Fashion Tribute Award. He has also been nominated 3 times for Designer of the Year at the British Fashion Awards.
The luxury fashion house now produces 4 women’s wear collections annually and currently has a customer portfolio which includes 170 wholesale accounts around the world and also has an award-winning flagship store on Bruton Street, London.
In 2009, Matthew Williamson opened its first US flagship store in New York, accompanied by a further stand alone retail store in the Dubai Mall, Dubai. This was closely followed by the launch of online stores for the UK, Europe and US.
In October 2010 it was announced that Matthew Williamson signed a new licensing deal with MBFG. The deal birthed a new, younger, diffusion line - Muse by Matthew Williamson. The new line is expected to be in stores for Fall 2011.