Mark Katrantzou’s transformative moment
It’s always interesting to see how a designer’s usually obscure cultural reference points play out in a collection. Having done countless pre-show interviews, I often chuckle at how far ‘out there’ their inspiration points are — the way the shadow falls across a Pre-Raphaelite stunner’s face in a Victorian painting, a random old tile (always a tile!) from a Byzantine mosaic at the V&A, the unique timbre in the scream of a Hitchcock heroine heard during a video art piece on display in a gallery in Berlin, you get the idea. So I’m surprised by just how normal the points of inspiration for Mary Katrantzou’s collection are. Her press notes mention an exploration of the symbols that signify the regular people we see every day: city bankers, bakers, construction workers and butchers. Not a single sentence about a mosaic tile in sight.
It’s hard to see the butcher or construction worker’s influence in this collection, which is so rarefied and beautiful in an almost medieval way. There’s nothing simple or regular about it, even if it is Mary’s most wearable outing yet. I can’t see how her intensely decorative dresses will translate to everyday life. Even her sweatshirt, done in fur and embellished with embroidered crests, looks like the sort of lofty thing that would be out of reach to any girl whose name isn’t Miroslava Duma. What’s notable about this collection, which (let’s be clear) is breathtaking, is the level of handiwork that apparently went into her embroidery, pleating and lace. And it’s a transformative moment in her career because she’s noticeably moved away from the very thing that made her famous: those dizzying digital prints. And she’s done so at precisely the right time, stopping two seasons short of one-note territory.
International editors, power buyers and general insiders high on that feeling of having witnessed a memorable fashion moment (there’s really loud cheering during Mary’s finale walk.)
What this will mean for your wardrobe:
Not an awful lot, other than the fact that this is another example of how pleating will be big come fall. And if you’re the kind of woman who regularly wears expensive works of art, this will be another collection to covet.
Major trends: Pleating, embellishments and those now ubiquitous plays on texture.