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The Business of Fashion

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Mary Katrantzou’s Sci-Fi Semi-Fantasy

Inspired by 1960s science fiction, the designer made trippy, swirly fashion that was also easy to wear. 
Mary Katrantzou Pre-Fall 2016 | Source: InDigital.tv
By
  • Lauren Sherman

NEW YORK, United States — For a designer whose work is highly creative, Mary Katrantzou appears to be quite a sensible person. A few years ago, when her often-copied digital prints began to feel overdone, she managed the difficult task of moving on, impressing critics and satisfying retailers along the way. In 2015, Katrantzou hired Trino Verkade as chief executive. The two are working together to supply her growing customer base with a broader range of product at different prices.

The tweaks were evident in Katrantzou’s Pre-Fall collection, which whirled with references to 1960s science fiction books. (For one, she was thinking about Philip K. Dick’s dystopian alternate history "The Man in the High Castle," and was blissfully unaware that it had been made into a television pilot for Amazon that debuted in January 2015.) There were more intricate pieces, like a pink leather v-neck shift, laser cut with rows of diamonds that were folded like origami to reveal a metallic silver underside and then fastened together with a tiny coil bead.

The metallic-silver jacquard coat, decorated with an outsize camouflage motif and accessorised with a pointy baby blue fur collar, offered another can't-look-away moment. Then there was the decidedly sexy fitted-bodice jumpsuit, rendered in a reflective, trippy multicolour print and held up with thick black straps and a line of ric-rac across the collarbone. Kantrantzou's greatest skill might be in translating showpieces into commercially viable product. And alongside her traffic stoppers were items — while still visually compelling — that fill gaps on the department store rack. The season's signature wave print almost looked three dimensional on a series of easy-to-wear separates and dresses, many of which were decorated with more ric-rac or seamed with tubular piping covered in a metallic mesh.

Since outerwear is her-second biggest category, the designer decided to make it more of a focus this season, offering little leather moto-jackets — in both solid colours and prints — as well as a waisted dress coat with a curvy ruffled hem. She also introduced more knits: a ruby-red cardigan dress, made in the same factory used by Alaïa, was decorated with matching mink accessories on the wrists and collar. Katrantzou hinted that some of the techniques and flourishes used here would carry over to her February runway show. If this collection is any indication, it will be worth the wait.

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