“I was never scared of pushing the boundaries,” revealed Mary Katrantzou in a recent interview with British Vogue’s Ellen Burney. Since launching her first collection back in 2008, the Greek-born London-based designer has been challenging notions of desirability and wearability, building a loyal following of both celebrity and private clients who crave her outré embellished dresses and eye-popping digital prints. And last Saturday, she marked ten years in the industry with an emotionally charged spring/summer 2019 show during London Fashion Week.
Held at the legendary Roundhouse in Camden, the presentation was, she said, “A collection about collections.” Having explained to Burney the importance of reflecting back - "It gave me a moment to see what the thread was that connects my work” – the new collection wasn’t a retrospective in its traditional sense. (Earlier this year, the Dallas Contemporary showcased 180 pieces from the Central St Martin’s graduate’s archive as part of its ‘Mary, Queen of Prints’ exhibition). Rather, Katrantzou took the codes she has developed over the last decade and transformed them into a new set of designs.
Accompanied by an original soundtrack by fellow Greek and Academy Award-winning composer Vangelis, models took to the circular stage in a mix of signature silhouettes and familiar prints that had each been given a new season spin. Opening with a selection of looks that reworked the stamps and banknotes theme of her spring/summer 2013 collection, it was the perfume bottles that had originally been printed onto tunic-style dresses for autumn/winter 2009 that featured on the closing looks, remade in metal mesh and adorned with crystal embroidery.
In between, flora and fauna favorites as well as insect prints appeared on pleated A-line dresses and fluted skirts, shown alongside new creations including see-through plastic stoles punctured with pops of color and Fabergé-egg inspired dresses and blouses that shimmered with sequins. Katrantzou also injected a sense of humor into the proceedings, showing a pair of dresses which appeared to be laden with ring-filled jewelry trays. Both the Fabergé egg and elaborate jewelry references reflective of the collectables found in her private clients’ residences perhaps?
“I love what I do,” mused Katrantzou after the show, her enthusiasm clearly evident in what critics agreed was a fun and joyous anniversary collection.
Runway Photos: BOF/INDIGITAL