Mary Katrantzou is the digital print queen of her generation. Her hyper-real designs have been a global retail sensation. So how would she push the boundaries of print this time?
With stamps and banknotes. Stamps, as the programme notes pointed out, were indeed ‘like “windows” into exotic cultures’, their flat square intricate designs – from Venezuela, Mongolia and Finland - appearing on sharp A-line skirts, strict narrow trousers, shell tops and shirt dresses.
Banknotes – the Deutsche mark, kroner, old British pound and drachma - provided the aesthetic currency for eveningwear, to the most spectacular effect on crystal mesh, using a new printed glass technique.
Of course these twin inspirations had nothing to do with the free-falling drachma or the imploding economy in her homeland Greece. ‘No, it was just interesting for me to work with flat, two-dimensional forms, instead of the 3D objects or places that I’ve been obsessed with,’ said Katrantzou, ‘it was a way to move forward.’
It wasn’t just the prints that had developed. There was denim – yes, denim – thanks to a collaboration with Current/Elliot that saw monochrome stamps marching down the sides of legs. And brocades – woven fabric, a first for her, having developed her own swirling banknote design – that appeared on the strictest and most desirable single-breasted navy trouser suit and a peacock green sleeveless jacket.
Her greatest departure? The silhouettes. ‘I came from such a restrictive show last season, all those bodices and bustles, it was time to loosen up,’ she said. And with those sensational billowing evening gowns and wafting, shoulder-baring trapeze dresses, she did just that.