My Secret Life: Matthew Williamson, 38


My parents were... supportive, creative and inspiring. My mother was an optical receptionist and my father had his own television sales company.

The house I grew up in... was semi-detached, in a typical English inner-city suburb in south Manchester. My mother was very house-proud, so inside everything was considered, ordered and pretty standard in its layout.

When I was a child I wanted to do... exactly what I'm doing now. I'm pretty focused.

If I could change one thing about myself... I'd be less critical of myself, lighten up and not be so analytical about things.

You wouldn't know it but I'm very good at... being funny. When they meet me, lots of people say: "You're so much nicer than you look in your pictures."

You may not know it but I'm no good at... anything requiring a plug or battery.

At night I dream of... nothing specific, consistent or fathomable by the morning.

What I see when I look in the mirror... I honestly don't look that often, and when I do it's not at any great length. My friends might dispute this as they think I'm vain, but I'm quite comfortable in my own skin.

I wish I'd never worn... everything from the age of 14 to 16, including a gold-sprayed pair of Timberland boots and a sequinned-lapel jacket in an attempt to be different and creative.

I drive... a black convertible Jaguar XKR.

My house is... a Miss Marple-style cottage on the Vale of Health, on Hampstead Heath. Inside it's very modern.

My favourite work of art .. It's a choice between the work of Gary Hume – I love his sense of colour – and that of Jim Lambie, who works with fluorescent tape which he lays in graphic, abstract patterns on the floor. I have one of them on my wall.

My favourite building... On 12th Street in Manhattan there's this pink-painted building which has the appearance of being in India, but which is nestled among high-rises and city buildings that you can see from the pool terrace of Soho House. I love the fact that it looks so wrong in its environment.

A book that changed me... 'Vogue' magazine, which is not, I know, strictly speaking, a book.

Movie heaven... My all-time favourite film is 'Into the Wild', but I also loved 'The Beach' and Tom Ford's 'A Single Man'. It's dawning on me that there's a definite distressed-male link. Read into that what you like ...

The last album I bought... I wouldn't know how to download if I tried, so I rely on friends to give me stuff. My latest favourite is 'Acapella' by Kelis.

My secret crush... is the model Jamie Dornan, but he knows that – it's no secret.

My greatest regret... There are just too many to mention.

My real-life villains... are politicians, generally; I can't stand that rigid, conformist type of personality.

The person who really makes me laugh ... is Sienna Miller.

The last time I cried... That's for me to know and no one else.

My five-year plan... I tend to have a one- to three-year business plan, which is a short novel in itself. In life generally, I want to work hard, play even harder and strive for more of a balance.

What's the point? I'm not sure there is one.

My life in six words ... Creative, ambitious, passionate, insecure and honest.

A life in brief

Matthew Williamson was born on 23 October 1971 in Chorlton-cum-Hardy in Manchester. He launched his own fashion label in 1997 and has since become one of Britain's most successful designers, with clients including Kate Moss and Gwyneth Paltrow. He lives in north London with his dog and has created a limited-edition silk kaftan for the launch of Belvedere Pink Grapefruit Vodka, available at

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