Wednesday 30 May 2012

In Conversation with - Mary Katrantzou

There are certain moments in your life that help you define your character and aesthetics, inspiration suddenly flows in your veins as a reaction to the impression these moments leave on you. When you try to recreate that first impression, the result may not always be what you experienced that very first moment, or it could end up blowing your highest expectations to the stratosphere; reaffirming it's relevance on your book. This was exactly what happened to me when I met Mary Katrantzou, my first contact with her work was thru fashion magazines; her MA graduation collection from Central Saint Martin, became one of my most treasured moments in fashion, did I mention it was all thru fashion magazines? 
I immediately fell in love with her designs, I began feeling extremely curious about her technique and even more about her method. She became one of my favourite designers and research topics, such use of conceptual semantics is worth admiring and demonstrates the skills of the pursuer. So every season when she presented her collection, that first impression I had, was re lived, adding new amusement factors every time. Mary Katrantzou unique aesthetic and silhouette had set the bar high for the 21st century designers, becoming one of the most influential designers of our time. Her constant exploration with prints and shapes has made a legend out of her name, a Heroine of Design.

As part of the second delivery of the lecture series Heroines of Design, Mary was the second lady to be celebrated at the Fashion and Textile Museum, once again I was able to help out that day and I was thrilled to; sold out tickets, a full house and tons of excitement in the air describe the atmosphere inside the museum, while we all waited to share some time of her busy schedule, one couldn't help wonder what was to come. Once the lecture began, the audience was immerse into her universe, how lucky where we all. She shared intimate facts about her career, her words were full of humanity, revealing a down to earth individual, approachable and humble; with a huge admiration for beautiful things, sensible to art and full of rich thoughts. No wonder her designs are so complex and fascinating, they truly reflect her personality and her philosophy. Though her development as a designer wasn't a bed of roses, perseverance and discipline proved to be no match to insecurity. "I didn't consider failure as an option" she mentioned.
What make her work with prints so unique, is the fact that it is engineered work; almost as if she was following the scientific method with each print to prove it's efficiency and veracity. Each step of the process is delicately handle, the ultimate goal is to create a strong visual statement for the free spirited woman with a strong sense of style. Every print has a story of it's own, translating everyday symbols into a fashion context very successfully; exalting the very best of Hyperrealism, the manipulation of digital images is key to artists devoted to the movement, technology transforms our vision of art and therefore our values of aesthetics. 
The fact that Mary Katrantzou is an experimental designer in a way, makes us admire her even more; her exploration with vertical silhouettes, volume and lines, shows she is quite a bit of a daredevil when it comes to break the molde. Her vision promotes innovation and suggests that designers can always explore the commercial counterpart, without forgetting their essence as creative innovators. She stressed on the importance women give to dressing for different occasions, and as a designer she must me able to create the perfect piece for each occasion, giving women the possibility to own a very special signature look. 

If you are not able to afford her incredible pieces, do not despair, since she had created affordable collections for Topshop and Longchamp. The idea is to create affordable pieces that carried the Katrantzou signature prints to a clientele was that in part new to the brand; "we didn't water it down" she said, referring to the collection for Topshop, which happen to be the best selling collaboration for Topshop. We can only hope for more sucessfull collaborations to come and to continue appreciating her magnificent display of skills when it comes to delivering 21st century fashion. 
For more information about Mary Katrantzou visit:

For more information about the FTM Lectures visit:

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