by Katie on April 18, 2011

AMAZING is an abused and over-used word nowadays, especially on the Internet where it is applied to almost anything of merit. We are not given to hyperbole at Chutzpah Towers; however it would be an understatement to say that Mary Katrantzou rocks our world.

Open a newspaper, or listen to the BBC’s self-fulfilling prophet of doom Robert Peston, and you’d be forgiven for thinking that we are all on a one-way trip to Hades in the proverbial handcart.  How refreshing then to have an emerging designer like Mary who, in the current climate, not only embraces luxury, but repackages it with verve and wit.
Team Chutzpah is in good company.  Swarovski recognised the Athens-born designer’s potential early on, and have recently released a film, taken during London Fashion Week, of Katrantzou’s Autumn/Winter 2011 catwalk presentation containing fascinating backstage footage.  The magic behind the magic, if you will.  Not only do you get another chance to view the opulent trompe l’oeil prints that Katrantzou has made her hallmark, and her masterful talent for form and fit, you also get to see the audience’s ecstatic reaction to the results.  See the film on HERE.

Katrantzou’s skills, like any world-class designer, are manifold.  The aforementioned prints, this season based on Faberge eggs, Meissen pottery, and Coromandel screens, would be rendered redundant without the (frankly) genius pattern cutting and a couturier’s eye for detail, coupled with a healthy dose of surreal humour.  Loose trousers with wide drop-waists resemble elegant vases, whilst a visit to Diana Vreeland’s iconic “garden in Hell” apartment inspires a visual overload of clashing designs in eye-popping jewel tones.  Swarovski’s crystals dot throughout, as you would expect, however this embellishment is restrained and merely adds to the beauty of the collection.

Cleverly, as with fellow Chutzpah girl crush Holly Fulton, this collection simultaneously reinforces and builds on the recognisable signatures of the designer.  This subtle brand-building sets these girls apart from other London-based designers, and will be vital to their labels’ longevity.

It is in the final few minutes when Mary lays her winning hand, as a clutch of softer, fluid pieces hints at areas hitherto uncharted, a softer side to a designer whose tailoring and industrial jewellery sometimes verges on the severe.

The first rule of show business is to always leave your audience wanting more – so what’s next for Mary Katrantzou?  A collaboration with Atelier Swarovski and a one-off piece for the ‘Handmade’ issue of style bible Wallpaper* are in the pipeline, as well as a hungrily anticipated Spring/Summer collection in September.  But who can say beyond that?

One thing is certain however – that Mary Katrantzou will continue to surprise and delight her followers. We’re proud to count ourselves amongst them.

Article written by Lee Clatworthy for Katie
All imagery from Mary Katrantzou’s A/W 11 catwalk show.

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