NEW YORK — The “Queen of Prints” is expanding her sartorial kingdom via a ruler in the athletic universe.

This story first appeared in the April 16, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Come November, London-based designer Mary Katrantzou will collaborate with Adidas Originals on a long-term partnership that will consist of a women’s-focused apparel and footwear line. The designer follows in the footsteps of names like Yohji Yamamoto, Raf Simons and Rick Owens, among others, and will be the first women’s-focused collaboration line since Stella McCartney’s.

Katrantzou’s deal comes on the heels of one late last month with Pharrell Williams to also do a capsule collection for Adidas Originals.

“As with any collaboration, it’s always interesting to see two creative minds combine,” Katrantzou told WWD. “It has been a learning curve and [Adidas] sharing their technical knowledge with us has been invaluable to creating this collection. After meeting with the team, I felt they really believed I would add something different to what they have already done in the past, and it was a great challenge for me creatively.”

Katrantzou said Adidas approached her while she was working on her spring 2014 collection. To her, the timing was perfect.

“[The collection] was based on shoes and a big part of it was based on sneakers, so I felt it was a sign,” she said. “When Adidas first approached me, I really took time to think about what I could offer that’s different, what I could say through the collection that they haven’t said before. I grew up, like so many other kids around the world, wearing Adidas sneakers, and bringing my vision to such a global brand was a great challenge.”

It was only after visiting the main offices and being shown around the Adidas archives that Katrantzou felt compelled to seal the deal.

“We went into the archives and took the running shoe as inspiration, which I then filtered through my own aesthetic and references,” she said. “I think what we created has a strong identity within the Adidas offering. Seeing what’s possible allowed me to really push the boundaries of what can be achieved technically.”

“The collaboration between Adidas and Mary Katrantzou merges the exceptional talent of one of the most interesting designers of today and a company that embraces many different cultures from sports, pop, music and fashion,” said Dirk Schoenberger, global creative director of Adidas’ sport style division. “I admire Mary’s extraordinary sense of printing techniques, colors and silhouette that will bring another amazing new aesthetic to the Adidas Originals women’s collection.”

Though the collection is categorized as women’s, Katrantzou said the collaboration will be unisex. “When we started brainstorming, it was clear that we had a similar customer in mind — it’s someone who enjoys life and has fun with clothes,” she said. “Age was not important, and we wanted the footwear to be for both men and women.”

Though sporty and more lifestyle-focused, the line will be true to her own brand, she said, emphasizing bright colors and digital prints.

“I think print and color communicate perfectly to a wider audience,” she said. “I wanted this collection to be more democratic because what I do every day is niche and luxury, so it’s great to translate my work into a product more people can enjoy.”

Katrantzou said she was so inspired by the process that she wanted to infuse her new appreciation for athleticwear into her own line.

“I’ve been able to explore an area that is new to me, and it has opened my eyes to new technologies that I would love to incorporate into [my line]. This collection is a great starting point.”

So will high-top sneakers, and streetwear-inspired looks, perhaps, be coming soon to her runway shows?

“Anything is possible,” she said.

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