BACK-TO-BACK BERLIN: London-based designer Mary Katrantzou was on double duty in Berlin, starting with a dinner at Soho House Wednesday night to celebrate the retail launch of the fall/winter 2014 Adidas Originals by Mary Katrantzou collection. On Thursday morning, the designer participated in a Q&A session with Gianluca Longo at the P&G Future Fabrics conference at the landmark Café Moskau.
Bearing her full mixed motif and color treatment, the Adidas Originals collection of 16 apparel pieces and six footwear models will hit stores Friday. Once the debut range was finished, Dirk Schoenberger, Adidas Sport Style division global creative director, told the dinner guests, “Mary said now let’s go really crazy.” According to a leading international buyer who’s already seen the follow-up, that craziness has translated into long, pleated chiffon skirts, a nod to her spring/summer 2015 signature collection, though here bursting in a new series of Adidas Originals/Mary Katrantzou prints.
Katrantzou’s innovative and futuristic approach to fabric has gained the designer personal experience with so-called “first wash anxiety” and the care problems posed by some of her most experimental creations. At the P&G Future Fabrics conference addressing “The Science of the Beauty and Care of Clothes,” the designer acknowledged she and her team often first think about care aspects in the production stage when the production manager asks what care label should be used. “And then I say call the mill, and they generally act with great caution.” As for consumers, care queries rarely come up at POS. “Unfortunately, those questions first come when a person’s cared for the product and doesn’t get the desired result.”
Most of the time, the knowledge just isn’t there, she emphasized, and given fashion’s relentless pace today, there’s no time between sampling and production to discuss care aspects of newly developed fabrics or treatments in depth with the mills. She called on Procter & Gamble’s Fabric Care and R&D professionals to get involved at the early stage of fabric development. “My ideal scenario would be if P&G worked with a select few mills when creating new fabrics.”
That suggestion didn’t fall on deaf ears. Robert van Pappelendam, vice-president, Europe Fabric Care at P&G in Switzerland, said “listening to Mary ask ‘P&G, can you go to the mills? was like connecting the dots. Our task is to find out what is new, take a leading role and share the knowledge.” Having to decide which textile innovation could blossom into a bigger, business-generating trend and thus warrant the effort is clearly a gamble. However, as Van Pappelendam responded, “This company has two names: Procter & Gamble. And we know one or two out of 10 will win.”