Approximately a year ago, Greek yet London-based designer Mary Katrantzou was getting ready to market her new resort collection Mary Mare. Who would’ve ever guessed that a year later, she’d be launching it in the face of a global pandemic?
“It was designed primarily because we wanted a capsule that is an all year round collection that will allow us to build staple silhouettes, looking to the brand’s archive for trends and change the narrative every season,” Katrantzou explained on the phone from London. “[The collection] emerged as a response to the pace of fashion, as I wanted to do something that was right for the brand, with a strong narrative, something that a lot of my friends and customers have asked us to do for a long time: have a collection that is right for when you’re on vacation or the weather is sunny.”
Inspired by the concept of sending a holiday postcard to a loved one back home, Katrantzou had her team illustrate the postcards used for the lookbook, thus communicating the collection as a little gift to cherish with a hint of wanderlust and nostalgia.
“There is something nostalgic about a postcard anyway, but now it feels even more nostalgic when the destinations are places we can’t travel to right now,” she commented.
The collection isn’t however just a swimwear line, but a capsule collection with pieces that are very brand-relevant, and for the very first time 100% sustainable, apart from a bit of lycra on the swimsuits. The collection was also a testing ground to really look into the way the brand sourced and produced clothing, collaborating with specific partners in order to source the right materials that can be used again in the future in order to build a collection.
There’s no doubt Katrantzou has made a statement launching the collection right now, at a time where all of her wholesale partners and warehouses are closed and compromised. Holding the stock until they reopen and are able to hold the merchandise, this is the first time the designer has sold her collection on her website, however, other than the quick turnaround out of necessity, it also gave her the opportunity to devote 20% of her sales to the support of two charities based in the UK.
A collection of firsts indeed, as Katrantzou’s Mary Mare is the first of hopefully many collections which will abandon the fashion cycle of seasonality.
“When Mary Mare was designed the world was a very different place. I think one of the biggest discussions in fashion is exactly this: do we need seasons? My argument is no,” Katrantzou boldly stated.
Case in point, as many other fashion houses and independent designers are slowly realizing, we don’t. “Life will change and has changed and you have to accept the difference. I think sadly we are all coming to terms with that and the next chapter is how we adapt. I am hopeful as the conversations I’ve been part of are about how people want to shake things up,” she concludes.