Mary Katrantzou

It was a surprisingly warm day in September of 2010 when I first discovered the magnificent design work of Mary Katrantzou. Her Spring/Summer 2011 collection had walked the London catwalks just moments prior, and there was I, a younger, more naïve (and probably less handsome!) version of myself, eyes wide in awe at this designer’s use of interior photography to form the basis for prints. Her dresses were like something from Wonderland, a world within a dress, as if you could shrink down and step into the modern English dining rooms that were printed onto the fabric. The collection felt like a breath of fresh air, and 5 seasons on Katrantzou has became a highlight of every LFW event.

This season’s show took quite a drastic new angle for the designer; the prints were more natural and organic, the colour palette much darker and the silhouettes much less structured. Katrantzou’s style has been quite consistent since 2010, perhaps too consistent, but her Winter 2013 collection has stepped far from her previous work, and into much more romantic territory. This season the prints do not originate from structured environments or hard edges (last season’s collection incorporated postage stamps and money prints, resulting in quite boxy graphics with hard edges and bold lines). Late 2013 is all romantic walks through Paris at night, snowy white Japanese scenes and New York bridges. There’s not a bright colour or a hard edge to be found and it gives for a more sophisticated feel.

There’s something about Katrantzou’s use of imagery in her designs that gives the dresses a depth and a mystery, especially in the examples above. The prints this season are romantic and perfect for a winter collection, and while I love this new vision, part of me looks back to that excitement of the S/S2011 collection and misses the wow factor. But hey, evolution is a wonderful thing!

Michael Swann
(images courtesy of