News & Runway

Mary Katrantzou Spring 2014: High Voltage Prints from Head to Toe

images: imaxtree

images: imaxtree

Mary Katrantzou has been on the scene for less than five years yet her niche—high-voltage, imaginative prints ranging in influence from elaborate, manicured gardens to typewriters and pencils—has been fully secured. While there was some doubt that such a strong, well-done signature could be sustained season after season, the young Greek designer has quickly proved herself adaptable and open to experimentation, indeed she's pushing herself out of her pre-established comfort zone to beautiful result, constantly.

Spring began with a group of prints based around leather brogues, a zoomed-in print in brown, blue and green decorating a simple strapless dress and a two-piece suit, among a few other silhouettes. Though straightforward, it's clear that Katrantzou's not messing around, as the placement of the print itself (shoe straps, buckles, laces) tricks the eye in the most common but perhaps underutilized way; note the jacket/multi-directional-pleat skirt set, where the bow-tied shoelaces add a decidedly clever feminine touch. The collection's next movement was apparently based on sporty sneakers, mashed up with floral prints (perhaps influenced by, say, the collaboration between Nike and Liberty of London?). Displayed on sportier silhouettes, like a T-shirt dress that almost seems ready for the tennis court, this is trompe l'oeil in a really fun way, as Katrantzou fleshed out certain aspects of the designs, rendering them in 3D, to keep you guessing about what's real and what's not.

This is elevated even further in the collection's third and final—and perhaps, most commercially appealing—movement, concerned with floral-inspired patterns of jewels, rendered in both 2D and 3D. The addition of real jeweled accents should provide the garments' wearers with hours of fun, as just looking at the pieces from afar is an exercise is suspended disbelief. These prints adorned a series of pretty party dresses whose silhouettes maintained a bit of difficulty: voluminous center pleats and contrasting-print breast bands kept these from being frothy party frocks, that's for sure.

That Katrantzou is able to make clothing that is both astonishingly pretty and also challenging is a total feat, and a reason that the designer's collections are often a fashion month highlight.

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