Five minutes with... Julien Macdonald
Debenhams has just opened (again) in Starhill Gallery – this marks the fourth reincarnation of the British department store, and they may have got it just right this time. The space is massive, and stocks the Matthew Williamson, Henry Holland, John Rocha and Julien Macdonald designer collaborations Debenhams has come to be known for. Speaking of which, Julien Macdonald was flown in for the opening, and we had a quick chat with him.
He designs for teenage girls and their mums
‘Star was the starting brand for my collaboration with Debenhams, and as I got older myself, so did the women who bought the line and so did their children. So the young girls said, “I really want to wear Julien Macdonald’s clothes, but I don’t want to wear the same clothes as my mother!” So Diamond is basically aimed at a younger generation of teenage girls. The price points tend to be lower, the clothes tend to be sexier, a little bit more revealin’. They’re for a young, teenage market. Having said that, my sister’s 50 and she wears Diamond [laughs]. So if you like clothes, age is just a number – you must wear the clothes you feel happy in.
Diamond by Julien Macdonald
Debenhams makes him work hard
‘With my own line, I can do whatever I want. I have a creative open book – I use the best fabrics in the world. My own clothes carry a very, very expensive price tag. But working with Debenhams obviously we have to be much more price conscious, and so it involves me actually working slightly harder. I have to pick fabrics that hit targets in stores, and obviously fabrics that last a long time. And the clothing goes up to large sizes, which I’m very happy about. They go from size six up to 18 – 22, so the same design must be adapted for every different body shape and body age.’
He used to want to be a popstar
‘It’s great being a fashion designer. I didn’t always dream of being a designer – I wanted to be an artist, or even a popstar when I was young. I kind of just fell into fashion, and I was lucky enough to be spotted by Karl Lagerfeld when I was 19 years old. I became his protégé and worked for Chanel and Karl Lagerfeld. Then obviously I became the creative director of Givenchy for three years, and then I was awarded an OBE by her Majesty the Queen.’ Emma Chong
Star by Julien Macdonald and Diamond by Julien Macdonald are available at Debenhams, Explore Floor, Starhill Gallery. For more info, see venue listing.