Julien MacDonald was born in Merthyr Tydfil, Wales, U.K. in 1972. MacDonald was taught knitting by his mother, and soon became interested in design.
He graduated from the Royal College of Art in 1996 but even before that, in 1995, he had started his solo career designing knitwear under his own name, as well as for Karl Lagerfeld, Alexander McQueen and Koji Tatsuno.
Seductive and opulent, Julien MacDonald's work takes the girlishness out of knitwear. He spins out fiery fantasies from his trusty knitting machine.
Julien met the German designer Karl Lagerfeld when he won the annual Lagerfeld competition while at college. As a result, Lagerfeld hired him as knitwear designer for Chanel in 1996, and told Vogue: "Julien plays with his machine like Horowitz plays on his piano." MacDonald uses new modern fluorescent yarns and luminous mohair.
In 1997, the designer founded his own company and created his own label. He debuted at London Fashion Week, and his show was an instant commercial success. His Autumn/Winter collection was entitled "Mermaids" and his Spring/Summer 1998 was called "Modernist". During the latter, he presented suit-of-armour dresses rather like those of Paco Rabanne.
It was a surprise when Bernard Arnault (chief officer of LVMH who own Givenchy, Dior and others) appointed Julien Macdonald the British designer, as chief designer for Givenchy haute couture. His first collection was Spring 2001 which was well received. His most recent collection for Givenchy is Autumn/Winter 2003 held in Paris in March.
MacDonald presented the Haute Couture Spring/Summer 2004 show for Givenchy in January and it was a beautiful show. However soon afterwards, he announced that he would be leaving Givenchy when his contract is up in April. He has not indicated his future plans.
Julien unveiled his couture-clad BARBIE at the glittering show in the March, dedicated to the fashionable doll. The event was attended by loads of celebrity daughters including Lisa Mafia's daughter Chelsea and Bob Geldorf's daughters Peaches and Pixie. The clothes were rock and roll, glitter and serious glamour.
In September 2004, Julien was awarded an honarary degree by the University of Wales, Newport, U.K.
He was also selected by British Airways to redesign their flight attendants' uniforms. He also acts as a judge on the British version of Project Runway, known as Project Catwalk, which is broadcast on Sky One. In June 2006 he was awarded an OBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours for services to fashion.
MacDonald has attracted much criticism for his extensive use of fur, including one incident in which he and Paris Hilton were flour-bombed. He has stated that fur provides the majority of his revenue and that his label would collapse were he not to use it. In February 2007, Macdonald was again criticised for the prominent use of fur in his autumn collection, causing further outrage when he claimed that "People who don't like fur can p*ss off. I love fur. It's a beautiful natural product from animals."
Modern-day tsarinas with a fondness for lots of dazzle.
Joely Richardson, Kylie Minogue, Geri Halliwell, Dame Shirley Bassey, Carmen Electra, Naomi Campbell, Diana Ross, Jennifer Lopez rely. Paris Hilton