Fashion Weeks

Watch Mary Katrantzou Spring Summer 2016 fashion show

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Sarah Mower, It is weird—a sort of barely conceivable telescoping of time—to realize that Mary Katrantzou graduated from Central Saint Martins, M.A., in 2008 with precisely 10 shift dresses, each of them digitally printed with oversize images of jewelry (the evidence is in the archives of Vogue Runway). Well, look at her now, seven years on, filling the atrium on the Central Saint Martins campus with a large, immensely intricate body of work framed around Roma gypsy dress and cosmic stargazing—all of it visible in a vast mirror that reflected the lineup into infinity. The G-forces exerted on any designer whose business has taken off so rapidly—Katrantzou sells around the world now—are extreme. But the remarkable thing about her is how she has adapted over that time, always carefully paying attention to critical feedback as she speeds forward. After breaking new territory with digital trompe l’oeil prints, which all too swiftly became a widespread style throughout the fashion world, she turned away from her computer and went into handcrafted embellishment. When people criticized her for being a decorator, she moved on to experimenting with sculpted shape. And when the response to that hinted that her experiments might be getting too cumbersome, she came back with what she presented tonight: a collection that combined tiny flower prints, micro sequins, and metallic quilting in weightlessly fluttery forms.

Miles Socha, WWD: Mary Katrantzou is a restless spirit and a skilled technician — driven to find new ways to decorate clothes, her forte. Her spring show was a stunner as she let go of technology in favor of folklore, yielding a collection that felt more personal and approachable than ever. Mind you, hers was an extremely studied take on bohemian style, describing backstage her wish to pursue “microscopic” yet dense decoration that still left her dresses soft and light enough to roll up into a suitcase. The way she mingled iridescent quilting, metallic brocades, Lurex-shot chiffon, embroideries, crystals and tiny sequins was as impressive as it was delicate. She kept the colors intense and metallic, which added a frisson of psychedelia. She kept the shapes short, simple and gently flaring, occasionally layering her minidresses over knit, space-dyed bodysuits. It was hard to identify which folkloric elements came from the Balkans, from Spain, from Romania, which was her point: obscuring their origins to create new hybrids. That’s a recipe for innovation in fashion, and a reason why Katrantzou remains one of London’s most intriguing talents.

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