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Julien Macdonald, March 2016
19 March 1971
Julien Macdonald OBE (born 19 March 1971 in Merthyr Tydfil) is a Welsh fashion designer who has appeared as judge on the television programme, Britain & Ireland's Next Top Model. In 2001, he was named "British Fashion Designer of the Year", and on 15 March 2001, was appointed as chief designer at Givenchy (Alexander McQueen's successor). His atelier is at Old Burlington Street, London.
Julien Macdonald attended Cyfarthfa High School in his place of birth, the working class town of Merthyr Tydfil, Wales. Julien Macdonald was taught knitting by his mother and soon became interested in design.
Julien Macdonald was also interested in a career as a dancer, but, instead, studied textiles at the Faculty of Arts and Architecture, Brighton, England. He then became a student at the Royal College of Art, where he gained a master's degree.
In 2001, Julien Macdonald was appointed to the position of chief designer at the Paris Haute Couture house of Givenchy (as successor to Alexander McQueen); and, in 2001, he was named British Fashion Designer of the Year. He forms part of the media profile given to Welsh figures in the Cool Cymru movement.
In 2014, Julien Macdonald launched an eyewear range in collaboration with Vision Express. At the launch party the designer said: "As I expand into eyewear, it was important that the collection accurately embraced the design and detailing that people know and love about the Julien Macdonald fashion house. Glasses are as much a statement fashion accessory as a handbag or earrings. For me it’s about completing the picture, by having a pair of eye-catching frames to complement any outfit, and for any occasion. These are definitely not glasses to hide behind – these frames will put the wearer bang in the spotlight."
Julien Macdonald attracted much criticism for his extensive use of fur, including one incident in which he and Paris Hilton were flour-bombed. He stated that fur provides the majority of his revenue and that his label would collapse were he not to use it.
In 2017, Julien MacDonald apologized for his previous use of fur, telling Reuters, "You do not need to kill animals to wear nice clothes."
Macdonald's dresses have been worn by celebrities including Kylie Minogue, Beyoncé and Jennifer Lopez.
In September 2013, MacDonald was revealed as one of the contestants on the dancing competition television show Strictly Come Dancing. Janette Manrara is his professional partner and the designer explained in a 17 September interview: "she’s [Manrara] the one that literally keeps me on my toes ... after only two weeks of training, parts of me hurt that I didn't even know existed." The couple were eliminated in the fourth week of the competition after losing to Countdown presenter Rachel Riley.
In 2018 Macdonald entered into a partnership with Victorian Plumbing to create five tile ranges for the online retailer. The ranges consist of Miami Decadence, St. Barts Glamour, Las Vegas Glitz, Hollywood Shimmer and New York Luxury. All of which as still available to purchase through the site.
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