Saturday, October 8, 2016

Mary Katrantzou Spring 2017

Mary Katrantzou is perhaps, one of the most hotly anticipated fashion designers on the London Fashion Week fixture. Without fail, she delivers some of the most innovative designs, combining a penchant for intricate designs splashed on flattering silhouettes coupled with accessories inspired by conventional materials. For Spring 2017, Katrantzou's runway more closely resembled 21st century warrior princesses going into battle wearing plexiglass dresses as chain-mail armor. The show is a glimpse into the future of the fashion industry, slowly creeping towards the utopian society depicted in the Hunger Games. Or perhaps I have that suggestion planted in my brain because I'm in love with the Australian model Fernanda Ly's signature pink hair. 

Despite their futuristic aesthetic, the clothes were inspired by the archaeology and mythology of ancient Greece. Classical tableaus were restored to their former glory in print, reimaigned in bold colors and featuring prominently on long sleeve shirts and dresses alike. Not only does it reinvigorate Greece's history, it celebrates Katrantzou's cultural heritage and more importantly, brings diversity to the runway. She's not the only one who looked to the past for inspiration this season, with Ashish Gupta combining Indian culture with sequins, embellishments and a bold statement in the wake of England's exit from the European Union. There were some in uproar over Ashish, with unsubstantiated claims over cultural appropriation. What naysayers failed to recognise is that Gupta was in fact born in Delhi before immigrating to England. Technically speaking, and by definition it's impossible to appropriate one's own culture. Katrantzou, like Gupta are championing cultural appreciation and such creativity should really be celebrated

Since the brand's inception, Katrantzou has continued to push herself creatively and incorporate new techniques into her designs. It started with her Spring 2013 collection, taking inspiration from postage stamps and bank notes which featured on jeans, tops and dresses through digital prints. This season is a transition from the two-dimensional to the third dimension with the most celebrated piece a dress made from plexiglass and shaped to fit the female figure. The design is somewhat reminiscent of a psychedelic daisy dress created by Californian artist Marina Fini, but unlike the American each piece was part of a much bigger puzzle. In many ways, these pieces have become the modern day equivalent to Emilio Pucci in the 1960s, demonstrating the same penchant for colour and bold psychedelic prints. Unlike Pucci, Katrantzou continues to innovate and engineer new designs, able to create new identities. In that sense, she's not limited by the heritage of a fashion house and is better for it artistically. 

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