Saturday, 1 March 2014

Julien Macdonald Autumn/Winter 2014

As I arrived on a cold February night at the imposing arches guarding the entrance to the Royal Courts of Justice in central London for the presentation of Julien Macdonald’s Autumn/Winter 2014 collection, the stern exterior of the building (one of the best examples of Victorian Gothic architecture in the British capital) failed to conjure the images of sensuality, femininity and luxury that I normally associated with Macdonald’s creations. However, what awaited me inside could not have been further removed from that external perception, as the womenswear collection unveiled proved to be a celebration of femininity anchored by a heightened sense of glamour and luxury. Furthermore, and for a label that has steadfastly garnered a reputation for its dazzling gowns worn at glitzy red-carpet events, the presence of guests such as Abbey Clancy, Samantha Barks, Laura Mvula, Coco Rocha, and Millie Mackintosh certainly demonstrated the appeal of celebrities and their faithful connection to the Julien Macdonald label.

For his Autumn/Winter 2014 womenswear collection, Macdonald drew inspiration from the patterns, textures and colours found in nature’s flora and fauna (namely bird feathers, snake skins, and luxuriant flowers and foliage) to create a range of fitted floor-length dresses made from sheer fabrics in a colour palette of silver, gold, black, greens and blues that stood out for their accomplished embellishments. In addition, the luxurious gowns featured an abundance of sensual details such as low necklines, thigh-high slits, fabric cut-outs, and exposed backs in a celebration of all things glamour.

Hailing from Wales, Julien Macdonald studied Fashion Knitwear at the University of Brighton and went on to complete a Masters from the Royal College of Art in London. His early designs made such an impression on Karl Lagerfeld that, in 1996, he was appointed head designer of knitwear for Chanel. He launched his own label in 1997 and in 2001 (the year when he was named British fashion designer of the year), Macdonald was appointed as successor to Alexander McQueen as creative director of Parisian fashion house Givenchy. Since deciding to return to London in 2004, he has been developing his own brands through a series of lines. When asked to describe his signature style, Macdonald was far from bashful: “My designs are sexy, high octane, powerful and liberating”. And if anyone had any doubt, his trademark piece would be “a red carpet glamorous embellished dress.”

Photographs courtesy of Julien Macdonald

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