London Fashion Week: Mary Katrantzou takes on monochrome

Mary Katrantzou couldn’t have been more apologetic for keeping her audience waiting an extra 15 minutes for her show to start. Thirty, this year, she graduated Central Saint Martins’ MA course in 2008 and is ever the consummate professional – her influence, talent, maturity and successful international business have reached the heights of a designer at least 10 years her senior. 

She is a digital print master and a colourist par excellence; her craftsmanship and the immensely difficult tasks she sets herself every season – pushing her skills and imagination to the absolute limit - is admirable and often breath taking to watch. 

Yesterday, she performed printastic feats with monochrome landscapes inspired by turn-of-the-century black and white photography. She achieved fabrics that were so mind-bendingly complex in their construction – overprintings, bondings, laminates, embossings and even ‘smoke bombs’ to make her landscapes appear soft and dreamy. She manipulated jersey to resemble the winding roads one sees in a rural vista and applied graphically urban scenes to soft knitwear. 

But for all her endeavour and beauty in her work, it was hard to love love this collection. Perhaps it was some of the flat angular shapes that looked so difficult to wear? Or maybe it was the lack of her signature colour? Just seeing those vivacious hues can invigorate an audience, change the atmosphere, which today felt almost melancholic, heightened perhaps by the silver-floored venue that felt somehow too austere a place to show these starker pieces? 

Only the best designers do this – shift and push, experiment to break new ground. And Mary is one of London’s best designers. It will be fascinating to see where she heads to next.

 
 
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