We grabbed ten minutes with the fabulous designer, Matthew Williamson to talk about the inspiration and ideas behind his new occasionwear line for Debenhams...
Q. What is it you love about designing a collection for Debenhams?
'My relationship with Debenhams spans over 10 years now - it's turning into a long-term relationship! Our collaboration has gone from ready-to-wear, followed by a bit of childrenswear, homeware etc. We have now settled on the Holiday Shop concept. And then we have the homeware range too, which is equally a passion of mine. So, it felt like what was missing was exactly this: the part of the brand which is synonymous with Matthew Williamson - events, occasions, parties. So it was an easy no-brainer. It felt like a natural fit.'
Q. When it came to designing the collection did you have a specific woman in mind? For instance, a party girl? Or a very elegant, sophisticated woman?
'Yes, I did actually. The first meeting we had with the team they presented their vision of what they thought the collection could be. It was actually a Rio-based, quite sassy look, and so I think my job was - over the six or eight months that we worked on it - to sort of calm it down a bit. And, I remember saying it should be just like a bunch of peonies. This room (we're sitting in the The Marie Antoinette Suite at The Ritz) is the perfect room for the clothes - imagine girls in those dusty pink, blowsy colours wafting around - very feminine, it's meant to be quite delicate and soft with those little moments of sparkle.'
Q. If you could choose a celebrity face for the collection who would it be?
'I'm working with Arizona Muse a lot at the moment - she's also a friend and so I know her, so rather than just a face - I know the girl. And, she's a really sweet, kind natured girl who would definitely fit the collection. She's got power. She'd look fabulous in all of it.'
Q. What do you think of women wearing white to other women's weddings? Is it still taboo in 2016? Does it not matter?
'No, that's not good - I think I'd avoid white. If I was a woman going to a wedding it would be one of the last colours I would think of.'
Q. Have you ever designed a bridal line for Debenhams?
'No, but it's definitely an idea for the future. We've been toying with the idea. We think it would be a natural step. I recently saw an Instagram picture where the bride was looking out over the Tuscan hills, and her bridesmaids (she had about 10 of so) were in an arch of ombre! That idea is what i'd love to do next: rainbow bridesmaids.'
Q. What do you think makes a good bridesmaid dress?
'It depends what your wedding theme is. My PA is getting married soon, and her bridesmaids are in beautiful soft tones - I think it's pretty standard that it's a delicate palette, it's more appealing if the girls around the bride are in a soft colour. They've got to compliment each other. Not block colours but soft, chalky pastels - all the same colour or tones of. Like a Dulux colour card.'
Q. If your house is burning down and you have three minutes to save three things - what are they?
'I would take my dog, my child and my gold watch off my business partner. Well you would wouldn't you? You'd take the two things that are alive! '
Prices start from £110 for a mini dress, to £250 for an embellished a maxi dress.
The new fourteen piece Matthew Williamson occasionwear collection will be available to buy online and in Debenhams stores from 15th May 2016. To find out more click here.