It's hard to believe that this is only Mary Katrantzou's third stand-alone show at London Fashion Week. One of the city's brightest talents, after her critically acclaimed AW11 collection, the style set arrived at the Topshop showspace this morning with high expectations.
From the very moment her first SS12 look made it's way onto the carnation-filled catwalk, everyone watching was utterly transfixed. All eyes were on the models – no one could even bare to look away in order to send a quick tweet.
As Mary told us backstage, she found inspiration in the contrast between the natural and the man-made. Pitting the artifical against the organic, the industrial against the beauty of nature, this was a collection defined by contradictions. But one didn't fight the other; handled by Mary it wasn't about one versus the other but about perfect harmony.
All sorts of things from tin cans, metal drums, microphones and car parts to fish, frogs, coral reefs, cherry blossom trees and armies of flowers were the basis for Mary's prints. When we took a closer look at one of the dresses backstage after Mary's show and realised that a crushed cadiliac and a field of flowers appeared at the bottom of the ocean, we realised just how much this collection was a whirwind through different terrains.
True to her signature, Mary's palette quite literally made your eyes pop with saturated pints intricately mixed and matched to create a stunning, jigsaw-like effect. Adding to the hyper-real feel of the collection was embroidery, beading and applique. We particualry loved the use of silver metalic fabrics which lept from printed backgrounds in the light.
In contrast to her head-to-toe prints which left no surface untouched, Mary's silhouettes were clean. Sharp sheath dresses, column gowns and minimal two-piece suits had a linear feel with pleats and narrow trains adding movement to her pieces. As she put it, she wanted to let her prints do the talking!
As always there were a few looks that absolutely stole the show! Dresses engineered around the body achieved by Mary's intricate spiral cutting really embodied her interest in the natural and man-made, colliding them together around the body and making them twist in perfect harmony. But the piece which literally took our breath away was the finale gown – an embellished army of petal, metal and print which truly made machine meet mother earth.
If you missed Mary's show, watch it here! It left the audience speechless!