Artistic Influences

"I wanted to return to pen, paper and paintbrush."
27th February 2014

Matthew is no stranger to the art world, having collaborated with Shane McAdams on collection prints and a host of London’s creatives for the Kids Company bauble project. But it was the catwalk that became as colourful as an exhibition for the summer collection. Bold brushstrokes, hand-drawn prints and abstract graffiti all combined to artistic impression, fittingly debuted with a show in London’s Saatchi gallery.

Matthew Williamson SS14 handpainted prints
Matthew Williamson SS14 handpainted prints

“I was drawn to the hand-done approach – the return to pen, paper, and paintbrush. The prints for this collection even look childlike —the main thrust is they’ve all been hand-drawn or painted.”
Matthew Williamson

The studio put their previous digital prints to one side in favour of drawings executed by hand. This return results in charming, fresh prints – “My idea was to keep things simple and fresh. I wanted to create optimism.” It’s impossible not to adopt that attitude in these sweet summer prints. A butterfly flits between twisting leaves, a dragonfly settles by a petal and the flowers themselves flutter as you walk. Maintain the simplicity in your styling – just the glint of gold jewellery on your wrist or neckline. Or a pop of colour from a clutch.

Matthew Williamson SS14 handpainted prints
Matthew Williamson SS14 handpainted prints
Matthew Williamson SS14 handpainted prints

The graffiti-inspired work of Keith Haring (New York 1958-1990) influenced the graffiti daisy prints, whose petals appear doodled in felt-tip pens. Matthew comments, “I saw some of Keith Haring’s work and it correlated with my thoughts at the time, back when I started on this collection in March.” Such bold brushstrokes are a surprisingly easy statement when the canvas is a clean-cut silk shift or gown. Cinch in the waist with a belt.

The dragonfly motif, first seen in Matthew’s iconic 1997 show, now degrades in different shades over silk georgette. Bolding painted, its wings take on an unexpected guise as they fly from neckline to hem. Don’t be afraid to wear prints side by side in similar hues – just like this look on the runway. Then, when cascading over a gown, the print needs little embellishment.

So whether it’s the sweet botanicals of a hand-drawn illustration or bold lines of graffiti, use your outfit as a canvas and the street as your exhibition this summer.The End

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