Mary Katrantzou's couture dresses

KATRANTZOU’S COUTURE CREATIONS: “Waddesdon Manor is such a beautiful estate,” said Mary Katrantzou during the launch of the “Creatures and Creations” exhibit mounted at the Waddesdon Manor in Buckinghamshire on Friday. “Being invited by Lord Rothschild is a huge honor.”

The grand manor was built by Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild in a Neo-Renaissance aesthetic of a French château in the 1800s. The estate spans 6,000 acres and is managed by the Rothschild Foundation and the National Trust. The stately home houses the family’s collection of arts, paintings and sculptures. Walter Rothschild — who passed away in 1937 — was an aficionado and collector of insects and animal specimens. He amassed such a collection that his parents gave him a museum to house his findings and present them to the public.

Katrantzou, who is known for her visually exuberant prints, created three couture dresses — done up in a palette of bright rainbow hues. The gowns were influenced by the collections of Walter Rothschild at the Natural History Museum and Tring museum which included various insects and animal specimens. Held at The Stables on the Waddesdon Manor grounds, the exhibit — which runs until October 29 — showcased the bespoke looks alongside a series of vivd prints created by Greek artist Platon H.

“It’s an exhibition and a dialogue between me and Platon Hadjimichalis,” said Katrantzou. “The dresses we worked on involved all the species that he had concentrated on.”

The printed tulle “Papillion” gown was intricately embroidered with sequins and bugle beads and was constructed with eleven layers of tulle underskirts while the “Delias” dress, a tiered and pleated lamé corset gown was created with tulle underskirts with a tulle butterfly affixed on the chest. Meanwhile, a long racer-neck “Alexandra” crepe dress had a velvet neck insert and was adorned with Swarovski crystals, sequins and beads.

Following a tour of the exhibit, the designer joined Lord Rothschild and Yu Capital chief executive officer Wendy Yu at an intimate dinner held in the manor. Guests including Chelsea Clinton, Nicky Hilton Rothschild, Yana Peel, Natasha Zinko and Eugenie Niarchos sat down to a three-course meal which included roast corn-fed chicken supreme with peas, charred scallions, baby carrots and confit tomatoes.

Politics was not a topic of interest at the dinner table even though earlier in the day, the results of the U.K. election showed that the ruling Conservative party under Theresa May lost its overall majority vote. “I’m kind of oblivious to everything that is happening,” said Katrantzou. “Actually I haven’t seen anything. I came from New York last night and then directly to Waddesdon this morning. But, I think we all need time to breathe in, let it sink in and see what happens.”

Zinko, who arrived with her 9-year-old son Ivan in tow, said she’s not really into politics. “Is anything possible or not?” said Zinko. “Anything can happen…” The designer, who is currently putting the finishing touches on her resort collection, said she’s also working on her spring range that she will present in September.

The Venyx jewelry designer declined to speak about the election results but said she liked the “wonderful combination of crazy colors and shapes” of Katrantzou’s creations. “The fabric they used and the bits and bobs of animals on a dress…” said Niarchos. “It’s nothing like I’ve seen before and I love the mix.”

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