Friday, May 15, 2009

Sunny side up

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Sunny side up

Williamson, whose celebrity clients include Madonna, Sienna Miller, Keira Knightley, Gwyneth Paltrow and Kylie Minogue, is the latest fashion talent to join forces with the Swedish high street fashion brand H&M.

Although Williamson is not as well known in China as H&M's previous collaborators, such as Karl Lagerfeld, Stella McCartney and Madonna, his clothes are becoming the rage here. When his first women's collection recently hit 200 H&M stores worldwide, shoppers raced to get their piece of chic.

Hordes of women in Shanghai cleared the shelves within 10 minutes. Beijing was the same. H&M opened its first store in the capital to coincide with the launching of the label's spring line and hundreds of shoppers lined up in pouring rain outside the flagship store in Qianmen Street to be first through the doors at 11am.

Competition was so intense some girls even wrote blogs to swap tips on how to grab the best items. Those who missed out first time around had another chance in Shanghai and Beijing yesterday as H&M launched his summer line in 1,600 stores worldwide.

Wen got lucky - she managed to nab the pink vest top without even having to fight for it. "It's good to be able to wear something designed by the man himself when I interview him," said Wen, one of a select group of journalists invited to Manhattan to interview the man and preview his summer collection.

Williamson's new line features women's wear, swimwear and a 20-piece "companion" collection, his debut design on menswear. The summer pieces look really very island-chic. The loose silhouette, floating fabrics and hot bursts of color let you know summer has arrived and would be wonderful inclusions in your luggage for your tropical paradise trip.

The summer collection offers an intriguing glimpse into Williamson's imagination, just as his spring line did. Most of the items are iconic pieces that have been revived from his archive. The men's collection is inspired by Williamson's own wardrobe, mixing a dapper young gentleman's style with hot colors and attractive ethnic influences.

The designer himself says: "This summer collection embraces the vacation lifestyle. The women's wear is British female goes to Ibiza and raids Jade Jagger's wardrobe while for the men's, imagine a British boy who has traveled the world and incorporated the inspiration he found into his personal style."

Acclaimed as a color connoisseur and famous for using vibrant and bold prints, the 37-year-old designer did not wear too many colors himself that morning when he talked with journalists from around the world on the 11th floor of the fancy, newly open Standard Hotel facing the Hudson River in New York.

He cut a good-looking figure in a cream striped suit and washed blue jeans, with his neatly trimmed beard, tanned skin and marble green eyes. He traced his love for vibrant colors from his upbringing in gloomy Manchester. By the age of 10, he was already dreaming of owning a shop with a pink sign. "I remember being fascinated by fashion as a boy," he recalled. "Manchester is a gray city so I wanted to use colors."

He burst on to the fashion scene in 1997 with a colorful collection dubbed Electric Angels, modeled by Kate Moss, Helena Christensen and Jade Jagger. His label has since become a celebrities' favorite and brought the party lifestyle of the global traveler to the catwalk, culminating in 2004, when he was named Elle's Designer of the Year.

You would have to conclude that his H&M collection, from a Maxi dress for $349 to a bikini top for $16.9, is a steal for those who don't have Madonna's budget. "The idea is that every girl who walks into an H&M can go 'I can buy this'," he said.

His inspiration comes from exotic cultures. "I travel every year to get inspiration," he said. "In this summer collection, you can feel the vibe sported by pretty young things in Ibiza, Mykonos, the Hamptons and beyond - but the prints and the patterns, such as the birds and butterflies, look very Chinese. I have always been fascinated by Eastern cultures."

In fact the Middle Kingdom is likely to see him soon. "My favorite fabric is silk and I have heard that China has perfect silk and embroidery, so I am really looking forward to visiting China where my H&M collection has enjoyed great popularity," he said.

taken from : China Daily

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