Sunbirds & Songbirds
“I closed my eyes and imagined the most perfect place on earth.” Matthew found paradise for his spring 2003 Flamingo Bay collection. The exotic birds that flitted through the signature print of the show were the rainbow-hued natives of this haven. Style.com deemed the collection the essence of Matthew’s designs, “a sumptuous distillation of all Williamson’s strengths into one long, cool fashion cocktail.”
It is therefore no surprise that Matthew returned to this vision of paradise this time last year, when musing over his first collaboration with Osborne & Little. The collection name itself even references this – Eden. Now, the birds are sunbirds – small, brilliantly coloured Old World creatures. They play amongst palm fronds and whether in a wallpaper or fabric – their colours complement each other perfectly – burnished reds against vibrant green or ultramarine with metallics and magenta.
The studio started with pencil and paper. Each barb of the feathers was finely sketched, giving the birds a hyperreal quality – you could almost touch them. Then watercolours were mixed for the saturated hues. Osborne & Little used their expertise to achieve the metallic sheens and render the rich dyes in print.
Matthew could not resist using the print in his holiday collection. After all, if ever there was a moment to go seek paradise, it is surely summer wanderlust. The birds, now re-named Songbirds in an ode to the dawn chorus of hot climes, fly through bikinis, kaftans and gowns this summer.
From catwalk to interiors before finally settling on a far-flung holiday, these birds have migrated and metamorphosed.