His intricate designs have graced many a red carpet, with an endless list of celebrity fans – Bella Hadid, J-Lo and Kim Kardashian, to name a few. So, you can imagine our excitement when the ‘King of Glamour’, Julien MacDonald, joined us on the GFW Live! stage with Hilary Alexander OBE to discuss his skyrocketing career as a British fashion designer.
MacDonald graduated with an MA from the Royal College of Art, and then went on to work with Alexander McQueen on his knitwear. After this, he went to Chanel to work under Karl Lagerfeld, who then mentored Julien and has subsequently become a key inspiration for a lot of his work. Having dressed some of the most famous women and men in the world, he argued that what is different about his success is that he is driven by the people who wear his clothes, rather than the clothes themselves. Using rich colours, embellishments and references, he aims to make his customers feel like a Hollywood star.
He highlighted the change in the industry as a result of the improvements in technology – saying that he has had to adapt to work on a global time clock. London to Los Angeles can happen in seconds. His advice to the graduates listening was that to succeed, you need to be versatile and find out what makes you unique. Having originally specialised in knitwear, he argued that although it is far from what he does today, it is this stage in his career which made him who he is today.
Words by Hannah Stacpoole