Matthew Williamson must be cursing the schedulers at BFC, because at precisely the time of his show, a few hundred meters away, Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio, Lupita Nyong'o, Prince William, et al were making their red-carpet entrance at the BAFTA Awards. Talk about a potential thunder stealer. That his front row was still full of stars was testament to the love that surrounds Williamson.
This collection was a watershed moment for the brand. Why? Because last season he decided to semi-retire his boho look, moving more toward the working woman. Today was going to be the second chapter. Adding to the excitement was the fact that this was the first outing for Danielle Scutt as Williamson's artistic head. So did boho rear its pretty head again? The answer is yes…ish.
Williamson had a black-and-white starburst carpet laid down—a nod to his love of seventies interior design ("I am a total product of the seventies," he told us backstage), but the first look that came out was a solid baby blue coat that, yes, said "working woman." An exquisitely tailored black suit was made special by a stunning neckpiece designed by Azza Fahmy. And a truly beautiful brocade tapestry coat toed the line between boho and business. Then, slowly, surely, the crystals and the bling appeared. Out came the glitzy star prints; the sumptuous sweaters with crystal appliqués; and the shirred, off-the-shoulder jersey jumpsuits that channeled Marisa Berenson at Studio 54. The look-at-me chubby fur coat in rich red and blue screamed "party girl." No one is going to the office in these looks.
The last couple of ostrich-feather dresses had the crowd swooning. Backstage, Williamson explained that they required a burning process and were the "most expensive dresses I ever produced." Now that is bling. But we know that back in the studio there is perfectly good dailywear that will make it onto the shop floor. He just only hinted at it in this show. Williamson going full business would be like Donatella Versace becoming an accountant—it's just all wrong. But that doesn't mean he can't do two things at the same time.