“As a child I was fascinated by everything that involved combining elements from my imagination with tactile experiences, whether it was drawing, painting, popping balloons or making bracelets with my friends,” she explains exclusively to Magazine Lifestyle Mary Katrantzou (Athens, 1983), one of the most eccentric and, at the same time, most purist designers of today. Among her fervent followers, Beyoncé, who wore one of her dresses for the single Water, from the visual album Black is King, Keira Knightley, Alicia Vikander, Diane Kruger, Cate Blanchett or Lena Dunham, among others.
Born in the Greek capital, Mary Katrantzou is the daughter of a textile engineer and an interior designer. Her artistic interests led her to the United States to begin a career in architecture at the Rhode Island School of Design in 2003. However, shortly thereafter she applied to transfer to the prestigious Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, in London, where she completed her studies. studies specializing in Textile Design.
It was precisely in the British capital that his insatiable curiosity turned towards prints and digital printing. Before graduating, he was already selling some of his designs to the American fashion house Bill Blass and collaborated with the designer Sophia Kokolosaki on the prints for two of their collections in 2006.
His graduation was a resounding surprise and a complete setback to the minimalism prevailing at the time. Her show and first collection was based on sweaters that played to create optical illusions as if they were jewels, which positioned her as a pioneer in the sewing of digital printing and allowed her to participate in the Harrods and L’Oréal Professional awards. That same year, she made her debut as a designer at London Fashion Week, with a collection that immediately found its way into major international outlets such as Browns, Joyce, Harvey Nichols and Colette.
I couldn’t imagine my headquarters anywhere other than London. Its eclectic mix of people, ideas and opportunities is perfect for creating
“I couldn’t imagine my headquarters anywhere other than London. Its eclectic mix of people, ideas and opportunities is perfect for growing creatively. Of course, I also get inspired by traveling, but London is where I am most productive and, at the same time, reflective ”, explains this designer who launched her brand in 2008, in the midst of the economic crisis. “I was not clear about what it was to launch a clothing company, nor did I have experience or knowledge about the world of clothing. business”, He admits.
“By renting a studio halfway and working non-stop, I began to see how my self-confidence and my firm position with the inherent narrative of each collection, based on my instincts, was making its way. Over the years I have reaffirmed how important it is to believe in yourself, ”he confesses.
His creations are characterized by their graphic and conceptual forcefulness. Also because of a strong connection with the history of art and technology. With this combination he has created a genuine aesthetic, so his shows always generate great expectation and multiple reactions.
Katrantzou is the pioneer of the Chaos Magic trend, which advocates mixing and combining patterns and textures, achieving enchanting looks that start from movements as different as The Bauhaus, Russian constructivism, psychedelia or the Victorian era: “Each collection is a eclectic mix of ideas. They can be architectural, a movie, or a historical period. I love obsessing over an idea and dissecting it, disassembling and reassembling a collage of almost opposite references. The only goal in my collections is unlimited imagination and my love for alchemy. After all, fashion has no limits ”.
One of Katrantzou’s favorite movements is surrealism, especially how Magritte saw it. “Surrealism always pushes me towards imagination and intrigue when it comes to capturing an idea,” he says forcefully. Precisely the technique of optical illusion is a constant in her work, seeking that space between idea and image, interpretation and reality, to create delicious and at the same time disconcerting garments. Harmony in a chaotic and electrifying iconography, as did the great Alexander McQueen.
Surrealism always pushes me towards imagination and intrigue when it comes to capturing an idea
His work, even in interior design, is also part of the so-called half-seam, a movement in line with that of the slow fashion: create garments that flee from the trends of the moment in favor of those that will pass from generation to generation. As Mary Katrantzou always says: “Utilitarianism has never been a priority for me. I think that craftsmanship and technology are the yin and yang of every wardrobe from now on ”, concludes this authoritative voice in fashion design.
The boldest rugs
Now, the designer has applied her aesthetic references and her knowledge of symmetry and proportion that she acquired when studying architecture to the world of rugs, launching a collection in collaboration with The Rug Company which is sold exclusively in our country in BSB carpets. These are seven rugs inspired by the bold and imaginative designs of some of its most symbolic collections. Thus, for example, the three floral designs in the collection, Bluebell Daydream, Garden of Eden and Botanical Paradise, are the result of Katrantzou’s SS18 collection, Nostalgia. These magnified and colorful flowers contrast with the monochromatic flowers of the Valley rug, where contemporary design that synthesizes size and scale creates a surreal effect.
With vivid color and simple organic shapes, the Framis rug features bold forms knotted in silk on a soft gray wool background, giving the colors a jewel-like intensity. Finally, the Sunray Nude and Sunray Pink rugs embody a dramatic silk sun motif, with metallic rays starting in the center and stretching to the edges of the interior piece. Inspired by enamel art, this design radiates dazzling light, transforming any space.
“We adapt the patterns to the measurements and materials of large rugs. Flowers have always been a recurring theme in my collections. In my house I am more of the Sunray models, but Framis, without so much detail, is also a representation of my melancholy when I think of childhood ”, exposes a designer who always wears black. “I spend the day between color charts and looking for nuances to each one of them, so I need something much more sterile at home and in my clothing. Of course, when I can take a vacation, I wear clothes in other colors. Color is liberating and has great emotional power, ”she says, smiling.