British fashion designer Julien Macdonald dazzles with his fabulously flamboyant womenswear. Formerly head designer of knitwear for Chanel and creative director of Givenchy, he has been based in London since 2004, focusing on his own label which is favoured by stars including Beyoncé, Kylie Minogue, Gwyneth Paltrow and Cheryl Cole.
The Britain and Ireland’s Next Top Model judge seeks style inspiration for his home from London’s quirky independent shops, pubs, restaurants and beautiful parks.
Where I live
In a mews house in Notting Hill and I love this area of west London. It is so much fun, so lively and full of eclectic people from all walks of life. The restaurants and bars are really brilliant and there is always something new to discover. I feel like I have the best of both worlds as I am central but so close to some beautiful parks, such as Hyde Park. I can escape for a long, relaxing walk while also being in the hub of the city with lots of things to entertain me.
My secret shops
There are two shops in particular that stand out for me. The first is Chaplins in Chelsea (chaplins.co.uk). It is a leader in contemporary design and cutting-edge homeware. Because its style is very well-matched with my own I can always find things to love there. The second is Talisman in Fulham (talismanlondon.com) for a more vintage approach. It has one of the best collections of antique-design pieces in the capital, though it can be very expensive.
Favourite piece of home memorabilia
I have a big range of Murano glass in my home but my favourite piece has to be an antique chandelier that I found in a tiny antique shop in Venice. You can buy Murano from the comfort of your London home at muranonet.com, or visit the Vessel Gallery on Kensington Park Road (vesselgallery.com) which also stocks it.
I love Les Trois Garçons for its eccentric and flamboyant style and décor (lestroisgarcons.com). It’s in a converted Victorian pub in Shoreditch; the three owners (Hassan Abdullah, Michel Lassere and Stefan Karlson) acquired the building in 1996 as their home, coming from Malaysia, France and Sweden. In 2000 they opened the ground floor as a restaurant and they live on the two floors above. For lunch, I adore The Wolseley in Piccadilly as it is a beautiful building (thewolseley.com). It used to be a bank in the Thirties so it has a timeless and elegant interior.
And there are lots of cosy pubs in west London. One of my favourites has to be The Cow on Westbourne Park Road (thecowlondon.co.uk). I have been a fan for a while. Everyone should go there and try the oysters — they are amazing.
Coveted design object
I have a fascination with paperweights. My favourite of all is a tropical Baccarat parrot scene paperweight that I keep in my studio. Baccarat stockists in London include Thomas Goode & Co in Mayfair (thomasgoode.com) and Lucie Rydlova Home on Cale Street in Chelsea (lucierydlova.com).
Coolest cultural hotspot
If I had to recommend an arts space to take inspiration from, it would be the National Portrait Gallery (npg.co.uk) in St Martin’s Place. It is steeped in history and is such an amazing building that I can wander around for hours.
Where I go to escape
One of my ultimate places to escape in London is Hyde Park. I go running there with my dog and it never ceases to amaze me. I enjoy sitting at the Lido Café, with beautiful views of the Serpentine, watching all the paddle boats going around the lake. You can also swim in the lake on a hot day but be warned — it is freezing. My dog goes in more often than I do.
Best makeover tip
Focus on the walls. When someone walks into a room their eyes are drawn to the walls first. It is worth investing in fabulous features, such as statement hanging mirrors. I also try to search for a stunning art piece for the main rooms in my home and position it in full view on entrance for an eye-catching effect (Julien Macdonald’s wallpaper collection is available from grahambrown.com).
Latest design project
My team and I have created a crazy, food-inspired chair which is not practical but is striking and bright, with pretend cutlery popping off it. It is our take on the Fritz Hansen ANT design. We spent endless hours melting and twisting the cutlery to create a real mixture of texture and colour. The chair is being auctioned in an online lottery (thebigchairproject.org), with others by David Loftus, Cath Kidston, Matthew Williamson, Superdry and Emma Tissier, to raise money for Jamie Oliver’s Big Chair Project. I chose to get involved because I wanted to contribute to the Fifteen restaurant initiative, which helps jobless young people, and which this project celebrates. Jamie’s charity, the Better Food Foundation, has helped hundreds of vulnerable people over the last 10 years so I wanted to do my bit for this great organisation.
To place a bid for Julien Macdonald’s ANT chair, and for more information on the auction in aid of Jamie Oliver’s Better Food Foundation, visit thebigchairproject.org