Mary Katrantzou London Fashion Week Women’s S/S 2019
The compulsive nature of collecting inspired Mary Katrantzou’s kaleidoscopic, decorative and other-worldly S/S 2019 collection
Mood board: In the ten years since Mary Katrantzou has been showing her eponymous line of exquisite demi-couture in London, many designers have come and gone. For her debut, during the Central Saint Martins’ A/W 2008-9 MA show, she presented a collection of simple shifts with oversized jewellery designs digitally printed onto the fronts. Some were worn with matching wood and metal necklaces that jangled as the models walked. The following season she wrapped facsimiles of vintage perfume bottles onto body-con dresses. Katrantzou garnered much attention for her bold and vivid prints and, in the years since, she’s pushed the embellishments and sculptural qualities of her clothes into a more theatrical realm. Her archive was installed in the centre of her S/S 2019 show held at the roundhouse in Camden. The collection revisited a decade of Katrantzou decadence.
Best in show: In January of this year, the designer had a 180-piece retrospective at the Dallas Contemporary curated by museum director Peter Doroshenko and director of exhibitions Justine Ludwig. Entitled ‘Mary, Queen of Prints’, her kaleidoscopic vision was laid bare. Katrantzou’s archive is a rich one, stuffed full of techniques, shapes, symbols, colours, patterns, shiny plastic frills, printed crystals, chainmail and metallic foil. Yellow pencils twisted round the body on a skirt. S/S 2019 embraced the concept of collection, the nature of collecting and the compulsive hunger of collectors – in the past her work has explored the love of insects, postage stamps, jewellery, works of art, perfume bottles and blown glass. The ideas were here again but executed with a more expert eye; those perfume bottle dresses from A/W 2009 have been rebooted in metal mesh with crystal embroideries on top.
Team work: The clothes had a decorative, other-worldly excitement to them, enhanced by the staging. The academy award-winning Greek musician Vangelis composed the intense soundtrack for the show. The models wore high shoes created in collaboration with Jimmy Choo – their heels were encased in transparent domes to resemble glass cloches found in museums. Stephen Jones worked with Kantrantzou for the first time, creating veiled hats, sporty baseball caps in repeat hexagon moulded leather and futuristic helmets in transparent plastic. It was as if a velvet-lined jewellery box had burst open, stuffed with textile, shape and intense emotion.§