London Fashion Week: Mary Katrantzou’s Fragrant Femininity

This London Fashion Week, Mary Katrantzou has transitioned from one-to-watch to a definite mainstay. With plaudits from the likes of Sarah Mower and Penny Martin, Tuesday’s show cemented her status as an enduring force. Having earned the “Best Graduate” award from St. Martins for her spring/summer ’09 collection, expectations for the Greek designer couldn’t have been higher.

The line was inspired by Katrantzou’s own collection of famous scents—a theme hinted at on the show’s tantalizing invitations. As one of the most spectacular and undoubtedly brave collections of the season, the show featured a parade of eye-popping graphic “bottle” prints on ultra-feminine, close fitting tunics and A-line dresses. One impressive design—sported by model of the moment Jourdan Dunn—displayed a double bottle design harking back to the brash fragrances of the ’70s and ’80s, which tactfully combined elegance and flash.

Keeping shapes simple seemed a very deliberate move. As a textile designer first and foremost, Katrantzou focused on jewel colored patterns, which suggested high-shine glass, futuristic skyscrapers and Fritz Lang modernism all at once. Colors ranged from amethyst purple and dense turquoise to more subdued beige and graduated shades of grey. Jewellery, a trademark of her celebrated MA collection, was less prominently featured. The few accents included mostly heavyweight pieces strangely reminiscent of mechanical mobiles and seeming to be constructed in the shape of a smiling face.

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—Lena Dystant