You didn’t need to be an archaeologist to unearth the Ancient Greek references behind Mary Katrantzou’s show. There were key patterns, terracotta vase-like silhouettes, women’s faces in repose that looked straight off a fresco . . . Of course in the mind of Mary, the Greek influences had been merged with something entirely unexpected: in this case psychedelic 1960s art, and the result was something intriguing and fresh.
The Athens-born Katrantzou said she usually “shies away from personal themes”, but that this season, “ I wanted to do something with my roots. When I was younger I went to Knossos and I was so inspired by the colour.”
The show opened with brightly coloured, fitted tunics over flared trousers covered in tiny tile-like squares, while blazers depicting Greek vase patterns and heroic ancient battle scenes were also worn with flares. Classical imagery appeared on short chain mail flapper dresses with shoulder straps and a floppy chain mail frill.
Little dresses and breastplates were also made of linked Perspex panels — quite 1960s Paco Rabanne — and many were layered over Op Art polo necks. Long fishtail skirts in nearly neon shades of pink, blue and green came with peplums and their exaggerated curves suggested the shape of a vase. Katrantzou said she had used print to help accentuate the contours of the body.
On the catwalk several looks appeared quite hectic, but when broken down into separate garments it will be more wearable: an embroidered jacket featuring a Jean Cocteau-like peace dove could be styled with jeans, for example, or a skirt with a plain polo neck. There were many classically beautiful dresses and skirts that would be perfect for the red carpet at next year’s awards season, such as a rich purple empire line dress with jewelled waist and flowing net maxi skirt with frieze inspired stripes.
Probably the most saleable element of this striking collection was the alphabet clutches, in the 3D shapes of all 26 letters. When asked backstage if she had considered using the Greek alphabet, Katrantzou replied that perhaps English was more commercial. Smart girl.
Photo credit: Catwalking