One of Mary Katrantzou's dresses.

One of Mary Katrantzou's dresses.

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Mary Katrantzou may not be a household name — yet — but the fashion world has gone gaga over her special-occasion dresses, which dazzle with their exuberant, opulent prints. And, with the holidays gearing up, you can expect to see a lot more of her party-perfect dresses. The Athens-born, London-based designer tells us about how to dress to impress, her favorite holiday traditions and what she really wants in her Christmas stocking.

What does the holiday season mean to you?

It’s family for me. I have been living in London for 12 years, so it’s a time when I go back to Athens – the home I grew up in. Usually for New Year’s, I spend time with the family and then we go to party. We gather at a friend’s house, we play blackjack and poker and then we go out. We keep it quite cozy: it’s me, my boyfriend and our 10 to 15 closest friends, and we usually stay up ‘til breakfast!

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You are a big lover of the little black dress. Will you be wearing one for Christmas too?

I usually do! But I have different levels of black dress: the daily uniform black dress, the occasional black dress and the New Year’s black dress. So it will probably be the more festive one, which is this Alaia dress that I have had for a couple of years. When I’m on holiday in Greece, I wear much more color and I play with accessories more. ... In London, wearing black every day wasn’t even a conscious decision. [But] when you work with so much color and make so many decisions on clothes and especially with patterns, you tend to want to cleanse your palate and almost remove those decisions from your daily life.

You are known globally for your prints. What is your secret to wearing prints on a daily basis?

I think the best way to wear prints is finding the ones that work for your style and your silhouette and be playful with them. A printed dress will always bring out the best in how it hugs your figure. I always urge women who buy my collection to dress to their style; I think the most important thing is to feel confident.

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How’s your next collection looking?

We have just started pre-fall so there is not much to tell yet. But I think my work has moved a lot in the past year, in terms of the themes. They are a lot more abstract, and not as defined by an object and more about who the woman is. This spring collection is about cosmology, last season it was about symbolism – it’s nice to work on a collection that allows you to put meaning into the cut and the visual references.

How do Greek people usually celebrate Christmas?

There is this old tradition that instead of decorating your Christmas tree, you decorate a boat – it’s not as popular as it used to be though. We also have the stockings, the Christmas tree… For dinner, it’s usually a roast; sometimes we eat turkey, and sometimes it’s lamb and roast potatoes. My mum loves making black pudding – we have it with crème fraîche. For dessert, we have this pie where we put a coin, and whoever gets the coin gets good luck for the New Year.

What present do you wish to find in your stocking?

A dog!

- by Elodie Noël