Grazia Daily meets Mary Katrantzou

14 June 2011

Athens-born Mary Katrantzou has design in her blood so it was perhaps inevitable that she would forge a successful career in a relatively short space of time. Often referred to as the ‘Print Princess’, she has wowed the fashion world since the launch of her eponymous label in 2009 and, is one of the few designers who meets print head on, making it wearable and beautiful in equal measure. The style set adore her and Anna Dello Russo is a personal friend (jealous much?). Meet the 27 year old, chatty, fabulous Mary K…

Grazia Daily: Both your parents were in the design business, are you influenced by the work you saw them produce while you were growing up?
Mary Katrantzou: My Dad studied as an engineer and my Mum is an interior designer who designed and produced her own range of furniture. I was not really conscious of the creative design element growing up but I was really drawn to the interiors magazines that were lying around at home. I immersed myself in them and, i guess, that's come through! I always had an appreciation of beauty and was influenced by that, rather than what they did specifically in their own careers.

GD: You somehow made a lampshade (above) unbearably sexy, is there an irony to your designs?
MK: It's definitely tongue-in-cheek! That season I took a theme, as usual, but instead of realising it in a print I worked the theme into shape too. It’s about the balance of building the exaggerated shape around the body and a design language through the theme of the print.

GD: The lampshade skirt was such a massive hit; should we expect a duvet dress or pelmet pants next?!
MK: We have moved away from interiors, the lampshade skirt etc. to the Faberge Egg as inspiration for this season and not taken the shape so literally this time. It still has the structure but now has a more direct link with the theme of the print. We will definitely not be creating a duvet dress or pelmet pants!!

GD: We loved your Topshop collaboration, what can we expect from the next one? Also, any sign of a jewellery line?
MK: We are in discussions with them for a third range to launch next February, so we’re in the planning stages at the moment. But I love working with them so it should be fun! As for jewellery, we have not gone there yet, but it is something we would love to do as it is accessible. I can say we are also working on something very special for this October, so watch this space!

GD: You're a talented textile designer, womenswear designer, perfumer and jewellery designer. Is it tough being SO amazing!?
MK: I don’t see it that way! I have an amazing team around me so that helps. It's has been challenging but we have great ambition and drive. We want to create a world, a particular lifestyle, not just the print and womenswear. There are so many things I have yet to explore…

GD: Do you think your prints would translate to menswear?
MK: Yes! It is not a priority at the moment, as we have a lot to develop with womenswear before we move to menswear. We’d like to work on a resort or cruise line first, however we’ve discussed testing the market with a men’s t-shirt collection as there is lots of scope for a great unique print for men.

GD: Last year you collaborated on a perfume with six scents, do you think perfume is the finishing touch to any outfit and, apart from your own, what's your favourite perfume?
MK: I see perfume as almost an invisible layer you wear and it certainly completes the look. Coco Chanel said "a woman with no perfume has no future". This is a strong statement, but I believe it’s true to a point. It's such a personal choice, it sets the scene and leaves a lingering impression of the person! It comes down to more than taste but my favourite, at the moment, is 'Very Irresistible' by Givenchy.

GD: Your celebrity client list reads like a dream but who would you LOVE to see in a Mary Katrantzou?
MK: I don’t know! It has been amazing having support from so many wonderful women. Anna Dello Russo has been fantastic and is such a leader in terms of style. I also love the way Rosamond Pike wears the label in her own understated way.  I think I would like to see style icon Carine Roitfeld wearing the collection as she doesn’t usually go for print. It would be a great achievement to see her wear Mary Katrantzou!

Mary Katrantzou was in Dublin to launch a retrospective of her work in association with Brown Thomas and Irish Museum of Modern Art.

- Angela Scanlon


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