In 2013, Jeremy Scott sent out a fast food-themed Moschino collection. Taking inspiration from McDonald’s and its famous Golden Arches, the show gave new meaning to the term ‘fast fashion.’
British designer Julien Macdonald has gone one step further. He is the first fashion name to team up with the actual McDonald’s on a limited edition box that will house the chain’s gourmet Signature Collection.
It may sound a little random for the glitz-and-glamour designer – Julien is well aware of this – but on speaking to the 46-year-old, the thinking behind it is at least solid.
“My first thought was ‘whoa’,” he tells Yahoo Style UK. “This is definitely something unique and pretty out of the blue. But then I thought, why not?”
“As a designer, you can’t just design clothes. You have to be diverse in different fields and always try to attract new people to your brand. This was simply an opportunity to do something different.”
Naturally, Julien has achieved exactly what he set out to do. The fashion industry certainly knows his name; a great proportion of the public do too. But the 68 million people that eat McDonald’s every day probably don’t.
The finished product is Julien Macdonald to its core. Featuring everything from crystals to digital prints, only this burger box could ever be labelled glamorous.
“I thought about it as a jewellery box,” he comments. “What would be the most amazing box that you could put on your desk? Or in your house?”
“I went with what I liked – so a lot of Art Deco and Art Nouveau motifs. It’s very Julien Macdonald: glitzy, metallic and edgy. But equally, I wanted a box that would make people laugh and smile. Something that wouldn’t be taken too seriously.”
Some may laugh at the partnership but Julien believes it was time he “had some fun” and went for a project that he “really enjoyed” doing. “The fashion industry can be taken too seriously,” he admits.
The collaboration occurred at the perfect time: when the designer’s stress levels started to skyrocket as he prepares for the next round of London Fashion Week.
Now he’s had his small dose of complete creative freedom, it’s down to business: “We enjoy the buzz but it’s a very stressful time for my team and I.”
Julien may have left his ‘Britain’s Next Top Model’ judging behind but he’s still always on the lookout for the next top catwalker. “I’m scouting for somebody who is very current, somebody that people are interested in,” he notes.
Last season, vitiligo sufferer Winnie Harlow dominated his decadent show. The one before saw American superstar Hailey Baldwin strutting down the sleek runway.
“Winnie is a very strong and confident girl who I’m happy to support. And Hailey is one of the biggest social media stars in the world. She’s got over 75 million followers on Instagram,” he says incredulously.
“It’s great that these kinds of girls want to wear my clothes and I’m happy to promote positive people.”
If you’re not familiar with Julien’s designers, think lots of sequins, lots of leg and a hint of a body part you wouldn’t expect. Revealing is part of his designer DNA and this season will be no different: “I’ll be revealing another part of the body. I look for parts that perhaps haven’t been exposed before – like the side or the hip area.”
Hinting at a potential plus-size addition to his show, he goes on to say: “I like a very curvaceous woman. Ones that want to gain attention from the clothes they wear.”
His roster of celebrity clients continues to impress: Beyonce, Jennifer Lopez, Emily Ratajkowski and most recently, one couture queen Celine Dion.
“I can never say who I’d like to dress,” Julien says. “I used to say Lady Gaga but in the last year, I’ve dressed her three times. And three weeks ago, Celine Dion called me up telling me she loved my clothes. She bought a few things and I ended up making some things for her tour. There’s always people who come out of the blue.”
The designer recently hit headlines for defending Emily Ratajkowski after she was criticised for wearing one of his ‘vulgar’ dresses. Any mention of criticism and Julien is steadfast in his approach: “If you’re going to spend a lot of money on the gym and eating healthily and your hair and make-up, then you should wear clothes that accentuate that. Confidence and glamour is my aesthetic.”
Of course, an interview with a fashion designer doesn’t come without one or two mentions of the current state of the fashion industry. Julien’s AW17 show was a strong contender in the diversity stakes with the Welsh name choosing real dark-skinned models to showcase his most vibrant dresses.
“I dress people from all over the world, from all different ethnic backgrounds,” he states. “And you know what? We live in a global world. We definitely live in a global city. I will support different cultures.”
As for the people in the industry who perhaps need a lesson or two? Ever the mediator, Julien believes the main teaching point should be forgiveness: “Look. There’s a lot of different people in fashion and I can only speak for my audience and the aesthetic I promote.
“But I think there’s a time and place for everything. Nobody’s perfect.”
Julien Macdonald’s creation for the McDonald’s Signature Collection is available in highly limited numbers at events across the UK. Head here to find your nearest event and find The Signature Collection.
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