Matthew Williamson’s flamboyant fashion translates to interiors in a new collaboration with Duresta. Absolutely quizzes him
Interview Pendle Harte
Pendle Harte: You have worked with interiors before, collaborating with The Rug Company and Osborne and Little, but this is your first foray into furniture. Where did you look for inspiration?
Matthew Wiliamson: The collection came to life mostly by looking at pieces of my own, bought mostly from antique markets or dealers over the years and which I’ve adapted or updated myself. I also collect pictures and samples of anything that catches my eye, so it was a fun process to build a collection which came from my personal favourite pieces.
PH: Your style has always involved colour and print. How do fashion colours and prints translate into furniture?
MW: My passion is for colour, patterns, textiles, travel, culture and exotic elements. I love bringing my DNA to whatever product I’m working on. While fashion has been my main career focus, there is such a huge overlap between the fashion and interiors industries that I see a real crossover in my work. I imagine that a woman who buys one of my dresses also wants a fabulous sofa or wallpaper and it’s this 360 degree lifestyle approach that I love most.
PH: How would you describe your own home? What are your favourite things and where do they come from?
MW: I’m lucky with my home as it has good bones. It’s a Victorian townhouse and the rooms are large with high ceilings and great original details so really my job was just to dress it and make it personal to me. I love the lounge most of all. It’s a large lozenge shape with an old wooden barrel door, original parquet floors and big bay windows overlooking the garden. This room is quite neutral but the furniture and items I’ve collected over the years add colour and character and tell a personal story. It’s changing all the time.
I prefer to make something poor look rich
I love moving things around regularly to keep it fresh. It’s easier than you sometimes think to make your space evolve, and adding a few small touches here and there can help to update your look. Flowers, candles, cushions, book piles and pictures are easy ways to add areas of interest. A bit like my clothes, I prefer to make something poor look rich. I think that comes from my work ethic and from my parents. I’m not about glitz. My most treasured items are inexpensive, sentimental pieces: a necklace with charms picked up on my travels and a bowl of rocks collected from the beach.
PH: How did the collaboration with Duresta come about?
MW: Duresta is a brilliant brand based in the UK, making all its furniture by hand. I’m drawn to brands which value craftsmanship and quality and they certainly do that. Making my first line of furniture with them has been a passion project which I’ve loved. It’s been a real journey to see these pieces come to life over the past year and I’m thrilled with the results as they really reflect my brand’s DNA. Now, the difficult thing for me is to edit which pieces I want to have in my own home.
PH: What did you learn from it?
MW: I learnt so much. It’s always fascinating to step out of your comfort zone and pick up new skills and work on different projects. I totally underestimated the time, patience and craftsmanship of each and every piece until I visited the Duresta factory in Long Eaton and saw for myself what a labour of love the entire process is.
PH: Who are your favourite designers, both fashion and interiors?
MW: My favourite designers are Ossie Clarke, Zandra Rhodes, Christian Lacroix and Dries Van Noten.
PH: What will your next fashion collection look like?
MW: The next fashion collection will drop on my website in May. It’s a fresh collection of separates for the ‘see now, buy now, wear now’ consumer. We have built a new fashion and lifestyle platform with products available on our site.
PH: Are any other interior projects or collaborations in the pipeline?
MW: I’ve just launched a collection of stationery and am soon to launch sportswear in May, followed by a designer colouring book by the end of the year and I then have my eye on childrenswear and china.