The intention behind one of the most surprising designer collabs of this year, is to bridge the gap between couture and everyday lifestyle.
HuffPost UK caught up with Macdonald to discuss this unexpected collaboration and giggle over gourmet burgers on the F’ROW at Fashion Week.
What was your first thought when McDonald’s approached you and proposed this collaboration?
I was definitely surprised, because everybody in the world knows what McDonald’s is. I thought ‘this is something kind of unexpected.’ I like to do things in a fun way.
So when they asked me if I’d like to design the packaging for their new signature collection I said yes.
I think life is full of opportunities and I thought this would be a really good opportunity for me so I’m pretty excited to do it.
How did you source inspiration for this particular project?
I thought about what people might expect from a Julien Macdonald burger box. It would definitely be something very inspiring and glamorous, and it would make people laugh. That’s why I thought I’d make it as though I was designing a dress for one of my favourite clients.
So I drew inspiration from the things I like, referencing points like art deco, art nouveau and glitzy things like Vegas, Hollywood.
The packaging is almost like a jewellery box. It’s a mixture of metallics with my signature use of crystals scattered all over it.
It’s very much a desirable box, it’ll definitely make people ask questions about it - which is what I wanted to achieve.
Are you a McDonald’s fan yourself and will you be sneaking in a Big Mac here and there during your busy schedule this fashion week?
I think around that time everybody loves that kind of food. I’ve always been brought up with Macdonald’s and I still go there. I like a cheeseburger, fries and chocolate milkshake. And especially during those long hours in the night, during the next few weeks I’ll definitely be sneaking in the odd McDonald’s meal.
Couture and fast food aren’t commonly associated, what do you think the reaction will be from you fans and peers?
I think they’ll actually really like it. I was talking to an actress who attends the Oscars and they always say it takes such a long time to watch the ceremony.
A lot of them get really, really hungry by the end of it and some of them try to sneak out to get a McDonald’s.
I think McDonald’s is a food that’s easy to get and a bit of guilty pleasure, so it’s great that, for a limited time only, there will be a very fashionable box from such a famous store.
I’m excited to see the reaction from people.
Will you be putting Macdonald’s x McDonalds on the front row?
I might do! That might be a very fashionable surprise. I’m sure the models back stage would love it...
Can you give us any other hints about what you’ve got in store for us at September’s London Fashion Week?
We’ve got some great brands coming over this season, London Fashion Week will definitely attract a lot of international buyers and celebrities.
I think this reinstates London’s position on the fashion calendar; the fact that people come here for inspiration. Whether it’s new designers or established ones.
There’s always something in the air in London, something that people come for to look for inspiration and experience the joy of an aspirational city steeped in history.
Would you say you yourself are inspired by anything happening in London this season?
My audience is a global audience, I dress women from all over the world, so it’s really about trying to capture that international fashion trend that’s currently in the air.
Obviously, it’s a very sports luxe feel at the moment and people are dressing down as opposed to up. Or they’re mixing very dressy things with casual things, so I think it’s a great time to be in fashion.
What are the current trends you can’t wait to see the back of this year?
Oh god! I think trends change so quickly, so you must use a fashion trend very wisely for yourself.
During the next few months, I think by the end of December, we would have seen a lot of red. It seems to be ‘how much red can you get?’ Red is a dangerous fashion colour, which people seem to love.
But it also seems like everything is in fashion at the moment, nothing is not in fashion.
So I think what’s important is the particular way you choose to wear those pieces to suit your lifestyle and where you’re going.
Obviously, the Julien McDonald brand is huge. You’ve dressed countless celebrities and yours is one of the most sought-after shows at Fashion Week. What do you hope to accomplish with this McDonald’s collaboration? Are you aiming to reach a different demographic, welcoming them into the Julien McDonald family?
I think so, yes. The great thing about my clothes is that they’re worn by people from all over the world who are of different ages and all different backgrounds. And I think, as a team, Julien Macdonald is such a megabrand.
McDonald’s, too, has a huge following of people from various ages and backgrounds. What’s more, we live in a world where social media and technology are at the forefront of communication.
I hope I’ll attract a new audience to my brand, so those people who might not know who Julien Macdonald are.
They might look at my social media and say ‘Oh, my God he’s that guy who just dressed J-Lo for her Vegas tour,’ or ‘That’s the guy who dresses Nicole Scherzinger for the X- Factor and has so many of those triple A-List Hollywood fans’.
And for those who do know my brand, I think they’ll see the collaboration as something that is fashionable and fun - something they can share with their friends and say: ‘have you seen Julien’s new collaboration? I cant wait to get my hands on it.’
So it’s something a bit cool and a bit culty that could even be a collector’s item. It’s a limited edition box, (there’s only 1,000 of them) so if I was lucky enough to get my hands on one of them, then it would definitely be something I’d keep.
It’s gonna be something you stick on ebay in years to come!
Looking at the work you’ve done in media broadcasting (BNTM) and the costumes you designed for the English National Ballet and now this collaboration with McDonald’s; is there any field you think the Julian Macdonald brand could tap into next. Like, say art?
I think so. In today’s world, being a fashion designer isn’t enough. People want to be entertained by fashion and the media.
So the more versatile you can be as a designer and show your talent in different areas the better. Whether it’d be through art, dance or the food industry.
Food was something my team and I had not thought about before. You know, everybody needs to eat, but they also need to be entertained when they go out with friends.
That could come in the form of a McDonald’s treat or a coffee or a salad, but I think McDonald’s offers that very versatile environment.
Venturing into the food industry could be a new form of communicating for designers and tapping that lifestyle environment.
I think the lifestyle of the future is one of the most important fashion trends and I think that’s what Mcdonalds has captured, especially in collaborating with the Julien Macdonald brand.
Fans can get their hands on very limited numbers of Julien Macdonald’s McDonald’s box by signing up to one of a series of McDonald’s showcase events around the UK. You can check how to enter at www.mcdonalds.co.uk/signaturecollection.