“They’re faux fur! That’s the ridiculous part of it,” said Mary Katrantzou, referring to the sturdy coats with lattice patterns that made their way down her runway as antifur protesters waved their signs and chanted outside the Central Saint Martins show venue.
Katrantzou’s choice of venue made her an easy target for the animal-rights crowd (they’d protested vigorously in CSM’s piazza last year), but it was also the right venue for her collection, which had a scholarly — and old-world — air with its references to Pointillism, Bauhaus, Victoriana, furniture making and digital technology. All that translated into flashy dresses, busy patchworks and glittering drapes of fabric.
“The collection was about the synergy between looking at form and at the decorative arts, and how these come together from Victorian times through Bauhaus. It was bringing that into the silhouettes, techniques, the draping and the trompe l’oeil work that I’ve done in the past,” said Katrantzou, who made a bomber inspired by a Chesterfield sofa and fuzzy, sparkling pastel sweater dresses that took their cue from Pointillist painters.
It certainly was an eyeful: There were about five collections unfolding simultaneously on Katrantzou’s runway, and some terrific creations, including the shimmery patchwork dresses with bits of velvet and stripes and that recalled Gustav Klimt paintings, the in-your-face patterned furs and trompe l’oeil sequined draped gowns.
Katrantzou’s pastel, crystal-studded dresses — some with ruffled details, others with peplums — were feminine and dreamy, and a challenge to make. Inspired by Pointillism, she drew parallels between the tiny dots of pigment and colored pixels, and sought to create something “textural and pretty.”
It was a big collection and it didn’t all hang together. There was just too much going on. Now it’s up to the customer to decide which bit of Katrantzou’s imagination they’re buying into.