A MEETING WITH MARY KATRANTZOU - CRASH Magazine
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Mary Katrantzou - Alkaerini dress in Poly Tulle, shoes

A MEETING WITH MARY KATRANTZOU

By Alice Butterlin

Mary Katrantzou has reigned as the queen of prints since 2008, when her first collection, shown at London Fashion Week, featured her famous “perfume bottle” prints. She boldly decided to cut against the grain of minimalist and subdued fashion by offering the polar opposite: exaggerated and extravagant color. This year, the Greek designer is celebrating ten years of her fashion house with a “best of” runway show retracing a decade of stunning designs and outrageous prints, from trompe l’oeil patterns to digital printing. Dallas Contemporary recently devoted a retrospective to her work under the title, “Mary Queen of Prints”. She spoke with us about the inspirations for her Summer 2019 collection and her many projects.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of your fashion house. How do you reflect on these past ten years as a designer and what are your biggest accomplishments?

Being able to celebrate my first ten years in fashion is really special to me and a milestone in my career. It was an accomplishment to develop confidence in my own conviction back then, when fashion was about minimalism. I had to push the boundaries of fashion! The fact that I am still here today really means a lot to me. I would say that’s my biggest accomplishment!

You’ve seen the fashion world evolve tremendously. What are the main aspects of the house as it has had to adapt over time?

The customer craves immediacy and constant newness. We had to adapt the collection lifecycle to respond to this increasing demand by introducing pre-fall and resort collections. The challenge is to listen to the customer’s needs while staying loyal to your own values and voice. 

You’ve also seen the tremendous rise of social media. Has it had an impact on your house?

Social media has had a great impact on every fashion brand! It certainly helped our brand awareness to grow! It’s a great thing to be able to show to your audience around the world everything you do, the moment you do it. It creates engagement and loyalty.

You’ve been a real pioneer in the use of amazing prints. Where has your love of prints come from?

I always wanted to create a visual world and prints allowed me to do that. Prints offer endless creative possibilities, they can tell a story and at the same time flatter the female form. And then there is this freedom they give you in being able to translate almost every inspiration into a garment. 

Technology has evolved a lot this past decade. How do you incorporate technology advances in your work and can it go hand in hand with craftsmanship?

Digital technology allows us to experiment with print in a way that traditional printing techniques couldn’t. Year by year the advances are amazing and we always try to incorporate them in our work. It’s so inspiring to know that your creative horizons constantly expand due to the digital revolution. Digital craftsmanship enables us to create wearable pieces of art.  

Your latest collection was literally about collections, from stamps to butterflies. Can you tell me a bit more about the concept behind it?

Collectibles have been a big part of the brand’s narrative and our collection’s pieces have turned into collector’s items themselves. The concept behind our 10th anniversary collection was to celebrate the art of collecting. At the same time, it was a great opportunity to revisit all our past collections and create a collage of collectible items. 

Models were surrounded by bubble wrap and caution tape. Was it a metaphor for a certain shield for women?

It was a metaphor for a love to collect and take care of one’s favorite items or pieces of art. Women do not need a shield; they are rather a shield themselves. They just need to wear clothes that reflect that.  

In ten years, have you been able to have a better understanding of who your client is? Is it important to design with a tangible woman in mind?

We are lucky to have a very strong and committed clientele that have taken the time to get to know the brand and what’s behind it. When designing, that’s the woman I have in mind. She is proud to be strong and successful, she is confident and feminine and has a profound appreciation for art, design or storytelling. 

Can you tell me about your collaboration with Victoria’s Secret? How did you approach lingerie?

My work is about allowing women to stand out, feeling confident and strong and that’s how I also approached lingerie. While designing the collection, modern femininity and positivity were at the forefront of my mind. I wanted to create a colorful and uplifting collection, which was at the same time bold and strong. Lingerie is a woman’s foundation layer when getting dressed, so it should give her confidence and strength! 

You had a retrospective exhibition at Dallas Contemporary, “Mary, Queen of Prints”. Did it feel like a milestone experience? How did you create a cohesive conversation between past and present pieces?

It was definitely a milestone experience! Having our own solo retrospective exhibition at Dallas Contemporary with a hundred and eighty archive pieces blocked in colors was something that made me realize that there is a solid brand DNA, a recognizable consistency. As every collection has a story to tell, there is a cohesive conversation between the different stories that is evolving from season to season. 

 

Mary Katrantzou – Inverted Jenny Top in Leather Nappa, Jenny Trouser in Leather Nappa, Jenny hat in leather nappa

Mary Katrantzou – Coraline Dress in Embroidered Poly Voile, Leggings in Jacquard Knit, shoes

Mary Katrantzou – Whiskey Sour Coat in PVC, shoes

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Photographer : Jesse Laitinen
Stylist : Andrej Skok
Model : Niko Riam @Milk
Make up : Daniel Kolaric
Hair : Federico Ghezzi @Saint Luke
Casting Director : David Chen

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