Sparkling Style

By on November 22, 2013
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A salsa was Julien Macdonald’s undoing on Strictly this year, but the crystal-clad Welsh fashion designer still loves life with a Latin tempo. He tells Rachel Waring about his home in Spain.

Having worked with pedigree fashion houses Chanel, Lagerfield and Givenchy, Julien Macdonald is now well-established as a thoroughly British style icon. His Star collection forms a staple in the Designers at Debenhams range, including women’s wear, home décor and now children’s clothing. Since being awarded British Designer of the Year twice, in 2001 and 2003, Macdonald went on to receive an OBE in 2006 for his services to the fashion industry. Proud of his Britishness, it’s said that dressing the Queen is one of his ambitions – but there’s little room for the traditional British stiff upper lip in his ebullient creations.

Macdonald’s hallmark designs are always sumptuous, sparkling and theatrical, so it’s not surprising that in recent years he has turned his hand to costume design. He clothed the dancers in Shimmer by the Richard Alston Dance Company at Sadler’s Wells Theatre, and in The English National Ballet’s Tempus performed for the Queen’s coronation festival. So central is Macdonald’s position in the British fashion world, that in 2004 he was commissioned to update the British Airways uniform, re-establishing the glamour associated with flying for a classic
British institution.

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But even this most British of designers needs a retreat in more temperate climes, to relax, soak up the sun and work on his next big project. Situated half an hour’s drive from Barcelona and known to some as ‘Ibiza in miniature’, Sitges is famous for its sandy beaches, party lifestyle and fine Catalan gastronomy. “Having visited Sitges many times and fallen in love with the place,” Julian says, “three years ago I decided to look for somewhere to buy. I was fortunate to find this penthouse apartment as it was so close to the beach yet not too far from the centre of town.”

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Inspired by good friend and interior designer, Kelly Hoppen, Julien styled the interiors himself. “When I bought the apartment it was in a traditional Spanish style, lots of wood and terracotta colours. My vision was one of clean, simple lines: white, luxurious, but minimalist.” Out went the traditional rustic Spanish décor and in came international glamour, with pure white Italian marble flooring and sophisticated
French furnishings.

Outside, a sun terrace runs the full-length of the apartment and affords fabulous sea vistas. It makes an excellent space for entertaining. “I love having my family and close friends stay,” Julien effuses, “so during the summer months it becomes Hotel Juliano!” The apartment makes a great winter retreat too. “During the colder months the under-floor and temperature-controlled heating mean it is ideal to come here to escape the London cold and also to relax and work on my new collections.” Perhaps this was the inspiration needed for Macdonald’s spectacular Vegas-themed show at this year’s London Fashion Week.

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Julien now plans to invest in a larger property, and has put his apartment on the market. “I love Spain, so I am currently looking for a bigger place in Sitges, but I also have an eye on Ibiza.” After such an impressive and demanding few years, it certainly seems like he’s earned his place in the sun.

(Julien’s apartment is for sale through Lucas Fox. www.lucasfox.com)

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