Last December, Matthew Williamson installed Danielle Scutt as his head of design, but she is no longer with the brand. What that means is that Spring was all down to Williamson himself; he was up for the task. “I have been doing this a long time, and the trick is to not make a collection repetitive and boring,” he said backstage. “We have to infuse some freshness in it, and here there are no curveballs, no tricks. This all came straight from the heart.” Williamson is known for his use of tapestry, brocade, embellishment, and embroidery, and he has a keen eye for tailoring. All of that was on display here, as he turned a well-worn travel reference into a strong collection.
The show started off with a maroon suede trouser suit with floral sequin embellishment, flared trousers, and a tassel belt. That was followed by some high-octane looks with silk dégradé floral patterns inspired by Williamson’s recent trip to Bali, as well as plissé halter-top looks with flouncy flamenco details on the hem. Shots of sky blue with citron yellow stood out, as did the pieces that had a more reflective quality.
The blouses were ingenious: a wrap design that just showed an inch of skin via a triangle, achieved through clever cutting. There was also an ostrich-feather detail that was more subtle than usual for Williamson. The high point was a sea blue ikat shorts-and-jacket suit that summed up a big part of the designer’s appeal—the touch he has with brocade. In the past few seasons, the brand has been trying to find a line between business and boho, and at times the direction has felt unclear. With this collection, however, it seems that things are back on track.