To Julien Macdonald, appearance is all about glamour. Casual daywear isn’t in his vocabulary. It’s the acumen he’s been alleged Britain’s acknowledgment to Donatella Versace. The Welsh artist has fabricated a career out of creating the blazon of arrant dresses that get the flashbulbs activity on the red carpet.
For years, he’s been bathrobe some of the wealthiest and best-dressed women in the world: from his aboriginal canicule designing knitwear at Chanel to the show-stopping pieces he created at Givenchy and, of course, with his eponymous line.
To adhesive his showbiz credentials, he alike clocked in a assignment on Strictly Come Dancing this year.
But, amaze aside, Macdonald is refreshingly unpretentious. It’s the acumen he angry to Liverpool-based Matalan for his attack into the apple of menswear.
‘Certain menswear artist clothes are aloof too expensive,’ he says. ‘I appetite to action a added affordable accumulating of accouterment to men but with pieces that I would abrasion myself – article that’s abundant but doesn’t amount £5,000 for a clothing or £400 for a shirt.’
Macdonald is accepted for actuality apathetic in interviews and cher menswear is his latest bugbear. ‘When you go into some artist menswear stores, it’s aloof way too big-ticket and I don’t consistently anticipate it’s account it,’ he says.
‘There are not abounding designers that would anytime do an affordable band and those that do aren’t accomplishing it actual able-bodied – and I knew I could because of all the acquaintance I’ve got. I capital to access the menswear amphitheatre like that, rather than attempt with the Guccis, the Pradas and the McQueens. There isn’t a charge for addition band like that but there is a charge for this.’
But this isn’t Macdonald’s aboriginal mass-market range. The artist formed with Marks & Spencer on knitwear in the accomplished and his Diamond and Brilliant ranges for Debenhams are amid the store’s best-performing lines. ‘I apparently booty added per aboveboard bottom in Debenhams than any added designer,’ he says, ‘and that’s based on the success of my lines.’
As arrogant as that sounds, it’s the truth. Unlike his peers, Macdonald isn’t absorbed in avant garde or the conceptual. Everything he does is abiding in creating pieces he thinks bodies appetite to abrasion and barter abide to lap it up.
‘There’s no point designing things that bodies don’t like. I’m not a appearance snob. I architecture things that my barter like to wear,’ he says. That’s the acumen he’s enjoyed authoritative clothes for a added audience. ‘I get so abundant fulfilment affair all of these women who adulation my clothes and can absolutely buy them so I thought, OK, why shouldn’t I administer that to a menswear range?’
Macdonald says his range, which is called W10 afterwards the postcode of his London studio, fills a gap in the aerial artery market. Abreast from Zara, he says, there aren’t abounding places for men to go. ‘Men’s appearance is actual youthful. So if you’re earlier or aloof alike accept absolute accoutrements or absolute legs, those clothes don’t fit you.’
Macdonald’s collection, then, is advised with the suave, able man in mind. Anticipate Savile Row but after the amount tag. ‘I was watching a lot of Mad Men and Downton Abbey at the time and that’s area the abstraction of this man came from,’ he says.
But the new Macdonald man is actual altered from Macdonald woman. There’s not a bit of embellishment. ‘I anticipate bodies are assured it to be actual arrant and alluring but I capital to do article different,’ he says. ‘My woman is consistently dressed up and über glam but the man she’s with is restrained. The woman will flash and be cool sparkly and the man will be a admirer – sexy, affable and sophisticated. I capital to actualize the absolute man to booty this absurd woman out.’
The Matalan aggregation gave him chargeless administration – and that meant delving into an annal of treasures he’s accumulated over the years. ‘It was absolutely easy. I aloof took all of my clothes,’ he says. ‘I’ve got endless of clothes and over the years I’ve calm absurd best and artist pieces so it was absolutely an estimation of the clothes that I wear.’
The accumulating consists of four apparel – acceptable for appointment and eveningwear – forth with one waistcoat, six shirts and accessories such as dickie bows and chichi abridged squares. Highlights accommodate an bright black-on-black adornment anorak that Macdonald heralds as the brilliant of the range.
‘You will never see a anorak like that anywhere on the aerial street,’ he enthuses. ‘If you were in a artist shop, that anorak would amount over £2,500. My one is £90. That’s a massive difference.’
He’s not assured men to banal up on it appropriate away, though. He’s abrogation it in the easily of his changeable admirers to ensure their men are kitted out. ‘They’re activity to be the ones saying: “We’re activity to this abundant affair and oh my God, I can assuredly get my bedmate an amazing Julien Macdonald suit. We can all abrasion Julien Macdonald.” Women will absolutely be the instigators but as men get to apperceive it, they’ll go in and buy it.’
As for his capital line, amplification into menswear is on the cards. ‘It’s actual altered but it’s absolutely article I would like to pursue,’ he says. In the meantime, W10 is his baby. ‘I anticipate I’ll apprentice from my high-street experience. It’ll be a acceptable antecedent of apprenticeship and appropriate now, I’m absolutely adequate alive for the accumulation bazaar and I adulation that the clothes don’t attending it. I anticipate bodies are activity to be absolutely abashed back they see it.’
The W10 accumulating is accessible in called Matalan food from today. Prices ambit from £20 to £110.