Mary Katrantzou is known for her hyper realistic, super bold prints. This time last year, she was showing us that very thing on broad swaths of leather with looks that were very aggressive, very authoritarian, and very hard. So, when this season’s show starts and the first look was so pale, so soft, and totally devoid of any print at all, there was an audible gasp and curious looks around trying to guess exactly what was going on. Could Mary Katrantzou actually produce a printless collection? Was that even within the realm of possibility?
No, she did not produce her spring/summer 2015 collection without prints, but they definitely took a dramatic turn for much softer, more organic, and one might even go so far as to say a microscopic view, one which a number of people watching the show didn’t quite seem to catch. Here’s the clues Ms. Katrantzou gave: 1. She described her mood board as a merging between the Pangaæ, the Panthalassa, and the basic elements. 2. Just before the show started, she said, “The organic and the geometric are constantly juxtaposed.” Ladies and gentleman, Mary Katrantzou may be too smart for you. Pangaæ = supercontinent that existed roughly 300 million years ago. You know that trick where if you put all the continents together they sort of fit into one large land mass? Yeah, that’s what she’s talking about. Panthalassa = was the ocean that surrounded that land mass. Does knowing all this matter when one is simply shopping for fashionable clothes? Well … maybe it should.
All this education comes into play when one sees the unique cuts and intricately handled materials used on this collection. Katrantzou may win the award for most incredibly detailed bead work ever. Once again, still pictures don’t do the fabrics justice. One needs to see them move under light to appreciate just how much these pieces glisten under the lights. Other designers might have looked for more simple fabrics that perhaps had metallic strands woven into them, but no, Mary goes all out with micro bead work unlike anything I’ve seen in recent memory.
Then, there are the cuts within the fabric, a geometric separation if you will, representing the continent’s ultimate separation. Sheer fabrics between the gaps hold the garments together and creates an entirely different set of silhouettes from anything we’ve seen before. Lace and fringe play along the hems of several pieces in almost ethereal reminiscences of the ancient geography.
Finally, there are those prints. One needs to look up close to see that these are representation of microscopic images of the elements. Something tells me that if Ms. Katrantzou could have possibly found a way to make these prints move and jiggle as things do on a slide, she would have done so. When viewed with this knowledge, these prints become some of the most exciting she’s ever presented. The colors are dynamic and with all the detailing she provides them they look as though they might leap off the garments.
One last touch comes with the final gowns. We’ve seen sheer skirts all season long, but Mary does something different in keeping the milky white skirts closely tailored. They don’t billow, instead they seem to be swimming. Swimming like, are you with me? Ancient jelly fish in that Panthalassa of so very long ago. Can you see it?
Okay, so one may need to have really paid a lot of attention in science class to appreciate the intricacies of this Mary Katrantzou collection. What matters is that these clothes are exciting, different from anything else, and just one piece would be a wonderful addition to any woman’s wardrobe. And if you can explain what you’re wearing to the clueless who ask, bonus points!
Photo credit: Guillame Roujas