Born: Methyr Tydfil, Wales, 1974
Julien Macdonald studied Fashion Knitwear at The University of Brighton. After graduating he furthered his education studying for his MA at London’s Royal College of Art. His graduation show in 1996 caught the attention of Karl Lagerfeld, who hired Macdonald as Head Design of Knitwear for Chanel and for his own personal label. Macdonald worked for both labels for two years before launching his own eponymous label.
In 2000 Macdonald was asked to design the British Airways uniform and create a range of clothing for Barbie. In 2001 Macdonald was named British Fashion Designer of the Year which followed with his appointment as Creative Director at Givenchy succeeding Alexander McQueen.
Macdonald started a partnership with Debenhams in 2003. ‘The Star by Julien Macdonald’ range has expanded to feature women’s occasional wear, accessories, home ware and makeup.
In 2004 Macdonald left Givenchy wanting to concentrate on his own label. In 2006 Macdonald was awarded an Order of the British Empire for his services to the fashion industry.
In 2007 Macdonald met Jamey Hargreaves, a private investor. Together the pair aimed to transform the business into a glamorous luxury British brand. In 2010 Macdonald appeared as a judge on ‘Britain’s Next Top Model’, where he has remained for the past two series.
Cheryl Cole, Beyoncé, Kylie Minogue, Gwyneth Paltrow and Kate Bekinsale have all worn Juilen Macdonald’s designs. Manufactured in Italy, his collections are available in luxury boutiques and shops across the world.
Known for transforming knitwear from its conventional use, Julien Macdonald’s style is modern glamour. Once commenting, ‘I love women and I love sparkly clothes’, Macdonald knows how to create dresses.
In 2014, Julien Macdonald collaborated with Vision Express to launch an eyewear range. However, Macdonald faced significant criticism for his frequent use of fur in his designs, and there was a notable incident where he and Paris Hilton were targeted with flour bombs as a form of protest. He defended his use of fur, stating that it accounted for a major portion of his revenue, and claimed that his label would suffer financially without it.
In 2017, he issued an apology for his past use of fur, expressing that one doesn’t need to harm animals to create beautiful clothing.
Macdonald’s fashion creations have been worn by various celebrities, including Kylie Minogue, Beyoncé, and Jennifer Lopez. He also served as the chief designer for the costumes of the pop group Girls Aloud during their Out of Control Tour in 2009.
He has made several media appearances, serving as a judge on the British version of Project Runway called Project Catwalk. Additionally, he became a judge on Britain’s Next Top Model alongside Elle Macpherson. In 2013, Macdonald participated as a contestant on the dancing competition show Strictly Come Dancing, partnered with professional dancer Janette Manrara.
In recognition of his contributions to the fashion industry, Macdonald received an OBE (Order of the British Empire) in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in June 2006. He was also honoured with the GENLUX/BRITWEEK Designer of the Year Award in May 2016.
Julien Macdonald Biography