When it comes to fashion and style, few cities can match the might of London. Paris and New York consistently vie with it for the top spot on the international fashion capitals list, but whether it's number one, two or three, London is the place to find the latest fashions and trends long before they hit the high street.
Matthew Williamson moved to London from Manchester 25 years ago at the tender age of 17, and has never looked back
Love At First Sight
'It's an iconic city - I fell in love with it as soon as I arrived,' explains the fashion designer. At first he found digs in a small flat in King's Cross while studying at Central Saint Martins. He soaked up the buzzing creativity of the Young British Artists Movement, assimilating his experiences into his own designs.
King's Cross has become a more respectable and less bohemian area since then but the energy and vitality that so enamoured a young Matthew still exists. 'London is still full of energy,' he says, 'and it continues to breed new creativity.' Which is why it's a global centre for more than just fashion; London is a hotbed of creativity in all sectors and a beacon that attracts the top talent from around the country and the world.
After graduating in 1994, Matthew founded his own fashion house in 1997 and debuted his 'Electric Angels' collection at London Fashion Week the same year. His reputation was made, and a few years later he opened his own store in Mayfair in 2004. 'Opening my store on Bruton Street was the realisation of a dream. Mayfair had always been the destination for luxury shopping.'
From 2005 to 2008 Matthew served as Creative Director at Italian fashion house Emilio Pucci and spent a lot of time flitting between his beloved London and Milan, and although he loved the Italian city, which he describes as having a 'sense of drama and faded romance' it was always London he longed for. The chance to unwind with a good cup of tea and walking his dog on Hampstead Heath were just two of the little things that made him feel at home here.
Still leading the British fashion scene, Matthew is committed to London and the vibrant creative community it fosters. With new work in the interior design field in partnership with Osborne & Little, we ask Matthew what he feels is important in a living space. 'I've often said if I wasn't in fashion I would love to have worked in interiors. For me, it's important that the spaces where I live and work are both functional and personal. It's the little details - like books, pictures and trinkets - that make each space unique."
And it's the little details, the unique energy and quirks, that lifts London above other global capitals.
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