Tanatalising, surreal: shoes get the Mary treatment
There was a section in Mary Katrantzou’s show where the dresses literally bounced along. They were happy dresses. Positive. Full of the joys. Cut from microscopic pleats suspended from a single leather bust strap or the top of a racer-back vest, they were short and voluminous and summed up the energy and spirit of her collection.
She had been looking at shoes. Not just looking, more examining them under her microscope, for she blew up their myriad details by 500 per cent via the digi-printer to human sized proportions. The punched-out holes of a lustrous brown brogue became the chest section of a dress; a brass buckle was recast as a belt; tassels on a traditional man’s golfing shoe became a curtain of patent pleated panels on the front of a short dress or layers of pleats on the hip of a skirt.
Then the colour and silhouette switched from dark and rich to bright and acidic. She’d found the trainer and ripped it apart. We could see the athletic mesh running down the sleeves of oversized motorcycle jackets; the neon-bright rubber soles cutting across structured dresses; the unmistakable flash of tread marks coursing over skin tight leggings and simple high necked t-shirts.
For eveningwear, Katrantzou had scrutinized the work of French embroidery house Lesage and elaborate slippers of the 1950s and 1960s. The show notes called this section ‘an orgy of ornamentation’. And then some. Bodices rippled with pleats, their entire surfaces stiff with crystal embroideries on short, explosively embellished dolly dresses.
This collection was a big departure from last season’s surprising monochromatic palette, or rather a regrouping, perhaps, of what Katrantzou does so brilliantly well: tantalising, surreal, unique print. And while many fashion editors may wonder what the future holds for the leader of what was once dubbed London’s digi-print revolution, this collection – and her rapidly expanding business – are proof that Katrantzou still has much to say. And, no doubt, many more ways to say it.