London Fashion Week: Matthew Williamson A/W 2013

In an effort to bring light and energy into the barren tones of winter, Matthew Williamson incorporated colour, shape and his classic endorsement of embroidery to spice up this signature looks for the colder days. Incorporating the dazzling tones of the Northern Lights for the foundations of his vision, violently bold in certain fabrics and translucently pale in others, Williamson draws south the freezing realities of the northern hemispheres to form a refreshingly spiced up new winter look of bulky winter dressing and outlandish hues.

According to Williamson, extremes on both ends of the spectrum were an essential part of the inspiration for winter 2013. “Toxic colours, like those acid greens” cited the main influence for the eclectic colour palette, mixed on a base of mustard dresses, trousers and skirts. The very embodiment of variety, there were two-piece stripy suits and boldly printed silk shirts and opulent embroidery all in icy shades of blue, green, yellow and orange, clashing against the hot pink and blood-orange of the printed silk dresses and blouses; then followed blue, purple, magenta and red knitwear and embellishment. The colours clashed with each other, unforgiving and fresh, in William’s signature kaleidoscope of powerful designs.

In a tribute to the native Nordics, layering is also key. Digressing away from the normal silhouette, large chevron coats, jumpers and skinny knits provide warmth without restricting movement. The layers are more appropriate for day-to-day wear than originally anticipated, as the tailored dresses are worn over skinny trousers and long sleeves peeked out underneath a heavy jumper, which almost covered the entirety of the pleated skirts. These are separate pieces, designed to be mixed up, never monogamous to one style.
Naturally, it wouldn’t be a Matthew Williamson collection without a heavy hand on embroidery. In contrast to the multi-coloured woven pattern on the outerwear, the focus on manipulating light itself came in use for the beading work and sequins on the garments. Shimmering layers of sequins seem very much at home within this collection, including iridescent splashes and layers of blue, green and dense pewter. On one mint-green evening gown, mauve and lilac strips of embellishment crept between the fading borders of colour, reflecting the refracted light and changing as it moves on the model’s body.

Interestingly, the nomadic influence expanded outwards with the use of dream catchers for pendants and the occasional touch of fur. The pendants hung around the necks of models with long tassel-tails reaching the hem of the dresses or the waistline – statement pieces, worn with simple shapes – and fur trimming the collars and lapels of coats and shaped into snug bolero jackets.

Whilst Williamson is usually distinct in his designs, the variety and selection of contrasts expanded upon his signature look this season. The merging of hot and cold, light and dark with quirky themed accessories adds a touch of character to the established name and whets the appetite for future collections with a new experimental vision. A fresh and cool take on several hot trends – pun intended.

Rosie Feenstra 


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