Each season Mary Katrantzou faces a bigger obstacle than most designers; her sartorial style- her DNA- is so distinctive, so linked to the explosion of digitally modified prints, that the challenge to make her specific approach to design look perpetually fresh is particularly daunting. It is proof of her remarkable talents as a designer that she has consistently been able to top herself every season.
In the past Katrantzou has used everything from structured shapes to glass blown adornments to help tell and develop her designer vision. This season her inspiration came from dusty world of stamp and currency collecting. Both stamps and currencies have moved into their sunset years of significance. With the Internet, posting a letter is no longer a daily occurrence for most and the arrival of the euro made –overnight- a number of national currencies obsolete.
But Katrantzou was able to see the beauty of design and the originality that existed in both entities and gave them a new sense of purpose as the chosen starting point for the prints in this collection.
Using stamps from places like Mongolia and Finland and bank notes from countries like Germany, Greece and Norway, the designer found the perfect two-dimensional foils to her clean lined silhouettes. The shape of the season for Katrantzou was the A-line. From the first dress with its “postage” neckline to the last with its flowing panels of fabric at the sides, the shape looked both more forgiving and more manageable than those used in past shows.
The designer used a black backdrop to heighten the serrated edge look of stamps on everything from shirt dresses to boxy jackets, while softer hues of pastel blues, pinks, and yellows brought the currency patterned pieces to life.
This collection wasn’t about slamming another print onto clothing. Far from it. Katrantzou showed herself to be technically savvy in a series of one-of-a-kind evening dresses covered in Swarovski crystal-mesh that- according to the show notes- “used a printed glass technique” which was then bonded to silk brocades. While those dresses will more than likely have haute couture price tags, the designer smartly also included denim pieces in this collection (in partnership with Current/Elliott) that might just be affordable by mere mortals.
With this spring/summer 2013 collection Katrantzou solidified the fact that she is a designer to be reckoned with and one who has only just begun to show us the width and breadth of her talents.
- Jessica Michault