Matthew Williamson experiments at home
Fashion and interiors are one, says the designer in an exclusive interview with Annie Deakin
Thursday 24 March 2011
‘Fashion and interior design are so closely linked,’ says the designer Matthew Williamson. ‘I've always used my home as a sort of experimental space where things change from season to season. I often find that my fashion collections start looking like my home and vice versa.’
In Williamson's bohemian and bright world, the home and the wardrobe share colour palettes and seasonal influences. He shops for his house with the same mindset as how he buys clothes. He paints his walls in acid colours, makes cushions using fabric from his ready-to-wear dress collections and re-upholsters furniture when he gets bored.
‘I don't think your home needs to stay the same for years and years,’ explains the Central St. Martin’s graduate who has purposefully designed an affordable home range allowing customers to update their homes seasonally. This new range for Debenhams, Butterfly by Matthew Williamson, includes the Elephant Parade cushion for just £20. 'Because of the accessible price points, you can buy items each season and adapt your rooms on a limited budget.' He is most proud of designing the printed and embroidered bed sheets, blankets and photographic cushions. ‘My Debenhams home collection is inspired largely by the way I have furnished my home. It’s an eclectic mix of items intended to bring a unique quality to any home. Similar to my ready-to-wear collections the range focuses on global travel as inspiration with great colour combinations and textures, and attention to detail.’
His own house, a Hampstead Heath cottage close to his Mayfair studio, is a showcase for his travels and creative flair. He says, ‘The exterior is listed and appears quaint whilst inside, I have gone for a more modern contemporary feel.’ What he defines as modern; others call futuristic. He has a mirrored armchair, neon light sculpture, hot pink-lit bar and collage wall in the shower. His favorite room is his bedroom - ‘perhaps surprisingly so as the colour scheme here is black and white. I like it as it’s a calming place and because of the palette, I can change accessories such as the bedding, cushions and throws with seasonal items to bring freshness and pops of colour, pattern and texture.’
Travel plays a key part to Williamson’s interior style - and fashion designs. He tries to bring back charms from every place he visits. ‘They hold memories of the places I’ve visited and bring a unique quality to my home,’ he says. ‘I picked up a huge orange African feather mask on a trip to South Africa. I’ve mounted it onto my disco mirror clad chimneybreast in my lounge.’ When in London, he scours Alfies Market off the Edgeware Road and Tann Rokka in Primrose Hill for unique finds for his home. As for wallpaper, the designer uses it as a backdrop, rather than a feature itself; ‘I tend to use wallpaper on just one wall and mount pictures and mirrors over the top. I would always advise going with your instinct when choosing wallpaper.’
He finds too many kitchens and bathrooms look too clinical, a result of focusing on their specific functions. His kitchen features backlit pink acetate shelving and his bathroom is covered in lotus wallpaper. ‘I try to treat them like other rooms in the house so I want to stay in them more than just to wash or cook.' His advice for a more original interior? 'Look for unusual items which you wouldn't expect to find in these rooms like an old armchair in a kitchen or a bookcase in a bathroom.’
This hunt for a unique design, be it for fashion or interiors, shows how the two fields are so closely linked. 'I tend not to follow specific trends for the home and try to create a space that is unique to me,' explains the designer. 'I guess that in itself is becoming more of a common trend.'
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