Since debuting her collection at London Fashion Week in 2004, Julia has been setting red carpets and award shows on fire with the likes of Paris Hilton, Megan Fox and Lindsay Lohan flaunting her designs. And with editorials in Vogue, Elle and W, Julia Clancey is proving that she is the go-to designer for statement pieces that not only wow and pop, but gives a little wink to the naughty in all of us.
You have taken a different path to fashion design than some, initially working as a fashion editor before you became a designer.
Julia Clancey: “I wasn’t really looking to become a designer. I worked as a fashion stylist for rock bands in London. When I moved to Australia I was styling and I wrote for a few fashion magazines. I didn’t consider myself a designer at that time; I worked as a stylist for these bands and occasionally I would design clothes for them. Anyway, I had designed clothes for the Welsh band Catatonia’s lead singer Paul Jones, so when Catatonia was asked to do this big British marketing campaign for Whirlpool washing machines, the director of the video asked if I would design the clothes. I got swept up in the flow of this multi-million dollar campaign and designed the clothes for the entire campaign. I really kind of faked it, but it worked out well in the end.”
You are British, but now you live and run your business out of Los Angeles, how did that come about?
Julia Clancey: “My former publicist Kelly Cutrone at People’s Revolution got sponsorship for me from IMG and Smashbox for LA Fashion Week, and since my clothes have a red-carpet appeal I felt it was best to move to LA because of all the movie premieres and award shows.”
Do you think that being a stylist has helped you become a better designer?
Julia Clancey: “As a stylist you are very in touch with how clothes look on your clients from all angles. You identify with who your client is and what works on their body and what pieces compliments their wardrobe. So I bring that skill set to my role as a designer.”
Many of the clothes in your collections have sparkle and shimmer, why that particular look?
Julia Clancey: “I think I must have been a drag queen in another life. [Lots of laughter] I like things that sparkle. My house in London has a chandelier in every room and I am just partial to glitzy, shiny things. I don’t really work with prints. I like to work with great solids and embroider with crystals and sequins.”
You love the fantasy fabrics, silk and chiffon, why?
Julia Clancey: “I like to waft. I like to twirl and float and command the dance floor. [Lots of laughter] Really!! I love all forms of dance, especially ballet, so I have this attraction for tulle and fabrics that really moves. There is nothing better than walking in a garment that makes a statement and having the wind make the fabric flow so that you create this aura of floating.”
Let’s talk about your Cannes Cannes Collection.
Julia Clancey: “My Cannes Cannes Collection was inspired by my desire to go the Cannes Film Festival and what I would have in my wardrobe if I went to the festival, lived the luxury life and attended lots of celebrity parties. I believe if you design or buy a garment for a certain occasion you will end up going to that place or event. And I did end up going to the Cannes Film Festival and partying on an incredible yacht.”
Your website is very, as the British would say, cheeky and has a wonderful component where shoppers can match size with color palettes, how did you come up with that element?
Julia Clancey: “I think fashion should be fun and you see that reflected in my website. My site is still in the embryonic stage and you will see lots of new components as we develop the site. With the Cannes Cannes Collection, all the caftans are one size, so shoppers can go to the site and match and play with the colors.”
Your clothes were a part of the finale of America’s Next Top Model Cycle 13, how did that come about?
Julia Clancey: “I dressed this lady who organizes all the big events in Cannes and through her I met one of the producers of ANTM and was picked to be a part of the finale. Tyra was great to work with and it was wonderful being on location in Maui.”
What’s next for you?
Julia Clancey: “Cannes Cannes launches in July. I am developing a secondary line, Little Miss Clancey, where the price points are lower than my signature line. We are planning a big launch of that in September. And I am developing an accessories line to launch in the US in February.”
For information about Julia Clancey’s collections, go to juliaclancey.com.