Whatever you thought Mary Katrantzou would send down her autumn/winter 2014 runway - think again. And then some! This felt like one giant leap for Mary-kind. Gone were the ingenious but now very familiar trompe l'oeil and digital prints she's built her eponymous label on. Instead the Greek-born designer put her eye for pattern to the test using intricate 3D fabrications.
Really it's no surprise the brand has taken yet another turn for the super-luxe: it's all too easy for the high street to replicate a print (albeit in a dodgy fabric and questionable cut) but there are few, probably zero, factories that could attempt to repeat on the cheap the dazzling array of chainmail, embroidery, lace and appliqué work that was on show this evening.
From show-notes explaining the many facets of Mary's inspiration for autumn - it's all about symbols and symbolism, from the intangible like paganism through to the everyday like a butcher's uniform or a road sign - it was obvious she had been doing a lot of thinking over the past few months. Even the very word symbol was analysed in her research: derived from the Greek 'symbolon' which is loaded with far more meaning than it's modern English counterpart. But nothing about this elegant collection felt overthought, or strained. The colour palette - forest green, maroon and navy - was ladylike and so were the shapes. Out were her more tricksy couture silhouettes or skintight bodycon of the past and in were Hellenic ground-sweeping day gowns, cheekily short shifts and mini skirts, ankle swinging trouser suits, crystal-laden sweatshirts and panelled and pleated asymmetric dresses. From far away these pieces were striking, up close, they're fascinating.
With Mary's prior experience for transforming humble starting points into something haute - she's previously conjured up pencil cases in Lesage embroidery and turned postage stamps into giant prints - such banal things as a road sign or a construction worker's toolbox motif are all good fodder for her out-of-the-box process. Talking of construction, this season looks like it could be one of those pivotal building blocks in the future of Katrantzou.