the insiders: matthew williamson and leigh lezark

the fashion duo says, quit complaining; have a drink!

by faran krentcil

Last night in New York, designer Matthew Williamson unveiled a billow caftan and pants stamped with sheer pink palm trees. He made them to celebrate Belvedere's new grapefruit vodka, and cast the DJ Leigh Lezark as the face of its campaign. 

This afternoon, we found them both curled up Matthew's downtown boutique, and figured it's never too early to start with a cocktail…

This interview's kind of weird, since we're friends…

Leigh: It's good; you won't ask me stupid questions.

Like, “So Leigh, what's the name of your band?!”

Leigh:  Shut up, I'll punch you.  Wait, that's the name!  Shut Up, I'll Punch You!

And how did you guys meet?

Leigh:  We were out all the time in London; we ended up going to all the same parties; we met properly on a shoot [for The Evening Standard, a London newspaper]. 

Matthew:  But I've long been an admirer of Leigh, not that she knows it.

You're the one who got her to start wearing pink.

Leigh: Yeah!

Matthew:  I like that I'm the provider of color in Leigh's life.

Leigh:  I mean, I've got a lot of color in my head, but not in my wardrobe.  You opened my eyes up!

And a lot of color comes from your time spent in India, right?

Matthew:  Yes, when I left [Central St. Martin's], I worked at [British label] Monsoon.  They had me going to India all the time, and India was especially good for me because it was a total assault on the senses.  I'm from Machester, which is far from exotic. I've been 37 times now!

Leigh: You should get an elephant.

Matthew:  I just made an elephant actually!  Well I didn't make it; that's a lie.  I decorated it.  They planted 200 elephants all over London and mine is hot pink and covered in glitter.

Leigh:  I saw an elephant in Thailand, my first elephant up close!  I was there for New Years, and the tradition in Thailand is to throw water on everybody and paint your face with this special powder, for a spiritual cleansing.  And this baby elephant walked right by me!  I was like, “Oh no, you look lonely!”  I felt bad.

Matthew:  My elephant isn't lonely.  It's hot pink.  It's been covered in glitter.  I think you would really like it; it's on our new website, and it's like rainbow glitter.  You should check out my new website, I think you'd be proud of me.

That's cool.  Do you Twitter?

Matthew:  No!  No thank you!  I can't get my head around it, I can just about email and send text messages… I imagine you closing down your interview now, being like, “This guy's a freak, next!”

Leigh:  It's okay.  I Twitter for him.

Matthew:  I bet it's addictive once you start, but I'm like, if you want to speak to me, call me!

You designed a collection for Belvedere Vodka.  Did you design it while drinking?

Matthew:  No!  I've never done that!  I don't think you should really go there.  Nobody wants to wear a drunk design. 

Leigh: I can do my job very easily while drinking.  It actually makes it a bit more pleasant.

Matthew:  Do you have to drink to do your job well?

Leigh:  Absolutely not.  But drinking is just a part of the nightlife culture, and the thing is, my “nine to five” is 9 pm to 5 am.  I don't have to wake up at a certain time but I have to be up really late.  You try doing that without a cocktail!  And I actually really like the grapefruit vodka…

What music do you play in the studio?

Matthew:  You don't want to know; it's really cheesy.

Leigh:  Faran listens to show tunes, so anything you tell her won't be cheesy.

Matthew: I was going to say Kelis! 

Leigh:  Me too!  Last night, we played Kelis, LCD Soundsystem, Estelle – she came to the party, but we would have played her anyway.

Will you guys collaborate again?

Leigh:  We should.

Matthew:  But how?

Hmmm… have you ever done denim?

Matthew:  A denim line?  That's a good idea. I'll put my thinking cap on; we'll do something.

I'm gonna call it “Lezark Leggings.”

Leigh:  Okay no, you can't, that's so bad… You know what it should be?  It should be nail polish.  In all the colors from your collection, but then you have to make them matte because I love matte nails.  My nails right now are Chanel, but I added a matte topcoat because it makes anything better.

Matthew:  Nail polish.  I love it.  Stay tuned. 

Check out Matthew's elephant on his website!