How can we put into words the magic of Mary Katrantzou’s AW12 show earlier today? We’ve been anticipating it all week – our excitement building and building – but we didn’t quite expect our jaws to hit the floor in quite the way they did. The kaleidoscopic, Crayola coloured vision that Mary presented for autumn captivated the front row from opening to closing moment. Somehow, Mary’s collections become more and more exquisite each season and AW12 was breathtaking beyond belief. One dress had 40 meters of chiffon that swirled around the model’s body!
Right from the very first look, it felt like we were at a couture show somewhere in Paris. The craftsmanship in this collection was not like anything we’ve seen in London for a long time: Victorian bustles and elaborate corsetry, layers of chiffon in fanciful forms and fabrics encrusted in glittering jewels. It was difficult to take it all in on the catwalk but backstage when we looked at the pieces up close, we just couldn’t believe the amount of detail that had gone into every single piece! As Mary told us backstage, 17 of her pieces were hand-finished by her incredibly talented and dedicated studio team!
Quite unbelievably, Mary is the first London designer to work with the esteemed French Haute Couture embroidery house Lesage and this is a real testament to her talent that’s being recognised worldwide. These hand-worked, one of a kind creations came in the form of intricate garden motif knits that leapt with glass shards and the most unbelievable 3 dimensional dresses, lending a tactile depth and surreal touch that could only be created by someone with an imagination that knows no limits. Pencils and erasers jumped from print to startling reality, while Swarovski crystals and pearls were the foam-froth of a claw-footed bathtub.
While Mary has become a master of structure and form over the last few seasons, her calling card is her incredible patterns, and her digital designs were just as thrilling as ever – if not more. This season, she chose to focus on utterly banal and humdrum every day objects: spoons, pencils, hangers, typewriters and hedges were masterminded into kaleidoscopic new patterns and heavily embellished forms. Pencil nibs converged into the bodice on one dress and the keys of a typewriter formed a peplum on another that had all the writers smiling away front row. As she told us afterwards: “It was all about making the ordinary extraordinary.”
Taking the style set by surprise, for the first time, everything matched on Mary’s catwalk! Her show was divided into distinct sections, with models saturated in one striking hue, for which the prints had been created from objects typically associated with that colour. We adored the Post-its and pencils for yellow, as well as the curtain tassels and typewriters for red, and the bottle openers that shone with plastic bubbles!
The spectrum and spectacle of Mary’s AW12 show was truly beautiful and confirmed what we already knew, Mary is one of those designers who’s going to keep on going from one height to another! After today, we don’t think it’ll be too long until she’s showing at Couture in Paris and we know a lot of people in London who’d love to see that day come. If you missed Mary’s show, watch it here and see what we’re talking about for yourselves.