Mary Katrantzou






Love’s young dream. For autumn/winter 2016, Mary Katrantzou is enamoured by a love story of opposing halves and attractive opposites, masculine fusing with feminine. Fashion is a verb: to fashion, to make. Fashion is the act of “making” love.

Inspiration initially came from two aspirational, archetypal models of children growing up: the cowboy and the princess. Here they fuse together into singular garments, collaging gendered elements – rodeo is cross-pollinated with Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet, to create a new and arresting hybrid.

Cinema is a key reference: Wild At Heart, Natural Born Killers, Baz Luhrman’s Romeo and Juliet. All tell a twisted tale, but all start with the freedom and innocence of young love, the old tale of boy meets girl. The cinematic starting-point infused the collection with the notion of Americana, panoramic cinematic landscapes and saturated Technicolor imagery, Andy Warhol’s portraits of Cowboys and queens in unreal silkscreened shades. These colour the collection, literally and figuratively.

Just as the collection is inspired by the individual identities of star cross’d lovers, so the focus is on the individual item. Each garment has been designed as a singular piece, made precious and unique. They are combined to form a look, but stand-alone not as a fragment, but a fully-realised whole.

Motifs from different worlds are paired into couples, aesthetic Romeos and Juliets. Butterflies find counterparts with eagles, hellfire flames with angels’ wings, hearts with stars. The body becomes a work of art.

Fabrics are themselves gendered, garments becoming rendezvous-points for masculine coating fabrics to meet with feminine touches of airtex embroideries, tulle intarsia pleats and Swarovski crystal embellishment. Hi-vis reflective fabric fragments are embedded in embroidery. Ballerina tulle is appliquéd with nylon, intricately accordion pleated and pieced.

Silhouettes are graphic, the garments everyday classics elevated by their marriage to Katrantzou’s aesthetic and workmanship. Narrow caban coat shapes, denim jacket shapes, pussy-bow blouses, shirt-dresses and full skirts – a full vocabulary of clothing. A pair of narrow coats created by specialists FunTastic Furs are intricately pieced with multihued Saga Mink®, the melange of pattern reminiscent of the two-dimensional graphic plane of a cowboy boot.

The set underlines the overriding themes of duality, lovers, and love lost. A foiled set is filled with silver balloons, a recreation of a prom in Warholian mirror.