Julien Macdonald has teamed up with Matalan to create a seriously glam high-street beachwear line. Exclusively revealed in this week’s issue – out today – Love by Julien Macdonald hits stores and goes online next week (9 June, to be exact), and is full of kaftans, swimwear and accessories decorated with the kind of killer prints and opulent details catwalk king Julien is famous for, but with a way more purse-friendly price tag. Look Editor Ali Hall paid a visit to Julien’s swish Notting Hill studio in west London to get the lowdown on the range, and here’s what he had to say…
We love the collection Julien. Tell us how the hook-up with Matalan came about…
They asked me if I would design a kaftan and some shoes as their customer really loves what I do. So I went to the store, thought they offered excellent value for money and I thought: “Yeah, why not? I’ll go for it!” I’ve enjoyed working with them and it’s been good fun.
What was the inspiration for Love by Julien Macdonald?
It’s all the things I love about the summer. I thought, if I was a woman and wanted to go on holiday, what kind of thing would I want to wear? I go to fabulous places on holiday, so I always think of the women I’d see there, whether it’s Miami, Ibiza, St Tropez, or by the pool at east London’s Shoreditch House. It’s for people who really love fashion and are totally glamorous.
You’re famous for your super-glamorous designs. Was it important to inject that glamour into the Matalan swim and beachwear collection?
Yes, but I wanted to do it in a different way. I love the monochrome animal print as it’s more toned down and perfect for a woman who doesn’t want to be too loud. It’s really chic. The black and white, you can’t go wrong with. It’s much more summer, much more high fashion. Then we’ve got the kind of tropical fusion with the flowers and animal print. I think that’s for a woman who wants to stand out, it’s much more Ibiza or Miami.
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Are there any parallels with your mainline collection? Any details or prints that you’ve transferred?
I think definitely with the shoes, my metallics, encrusted crystals and lots of sparkle, which I love, are all there. But really it’s just the sheer glamour of everything. Everything is nicely cut – it reveals the bod,y but not too much. They’re nice, easy shapes that every woman can wear no matter how old you are or what shape you are.
Was it important to you to cater to all shapes and sizes with your Matalan collection?
Definitely. I always like to design high-street collections that my friends, mum and sisters could wear. My mum is 80 and my sisters are 50 and 40, and I always think, would my mum wear that? Would my sisters wear that? They are my ideal customers! There’s something for everybody really.
What are your holiday style dos & don’ts?
I think that you’re on holiday, so you should always just enjoy yourself. When you’re in a holiday mood, you wear things you wouldn’t normally, like a crazy magenta kaftan or multi-coloured animal print. You wouldn’t wear them in the city, but when you’re on holiday and everyone’s dressed up in the cocktail bar, you go for it because you’re in the mood and the cocktails are flowing.
What are your tips for feeling beach body confident?
A lot of the swimsuits have secret support and great hold-ups, so they lift and support you in all the right places. That’s important, but I think most of all I would say just enjoy yourself, it’s fun. These are great pieces that everyone can afford to buy so just enjoy wearing them. When people say: “Oh what are you wearing? you look amazing,” you can say: “Well, I’m wearing Julien Macdonald.” And they’ll go: “Wow, really?” Show off and tell all your friends!
What do you love about designing for the high street?
I like it because it’s accessible to everybody. The thing is with designer clothes they’re expensive and not everyone can afford them. The high street makes affordable fashion that everyone can enjoy. We have the best high street in the world. I’m always excited to see what the high street takes inspiration from, it’s fun.
What far-flung destination do you imagine the Love By Julian Macdonald lady to be jetting off to?
Ibiza! I could see the collection in the Blue Marlin club or Pacha at night. You know what though, I could actually see girls wearing it out on a night out in Newcastle or Birmingham. Definitely the kaftans and black sparkly heels. They’re great for going out too – I don’t think people will just wear it on the beach.
Which is your favourite piece from the collection and how would you style it?
I have a few! I really like the laser-cut kaftan and the pink leopard-print beach dress as they’re both really versatile. Everyone could wear them. I love the tropical towel – I’d take that to the beach! And the grey and black, more toned-down pieces. I could see them with the crystal flat sandals for a relaxed look.
You’ve got a seriously A-list fan base. Which celebs could you see rocking your Matalan collection on holiday?
I think they’d all love it and wouldn’t believe the prices! Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus and Beyonce for sure. Bey would love the grey animal print and Katy would definitely wear the pink animal-print dress, because she loves wild prints. I could see Kylie in the little lasered black kaftan and Abbey Clancy, Jessie J and Millie Mackintosh in the bikinis. All those girls would love it.
Which A-list ladies inspire you?
I really like Gwyneth Paltrow, she has a fantastic sense of style and I really like what she wears. And I love Cameron Diaz at the moment. She’s one of those fun women. And J. Lo – my gosh, she’d love all of this!
Beyonce wore one of your dresses on her recent Mrs Carter tour… How did it feel to dress such a megastar?
It was amazing! I’ve met her a few times, and made her costumes and private pieces. She loves crystals and fringing. She just wants to look amazing and she’s not afraid of fashion. She really goes for it and I think that’s why everybody loves her.
Finally, what’s your ultimate styling tip?
If you want to look good, always put a heel on. A stiletto is obviously the sexiest one, but if you can’t walk in a stiletto, you can do a wedge. High shoes might not be comfy, but you will definitely look good and feel good. If you have a great pair of shoes and a simple black dress, you will never go wrong. If in doubt, always go for killer heels and a simple black dress.
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