Mary Katrantzou
Mary Katrantzou A/W 2015. Photo credit: Yannis Vlamos / Indigitalimages.com

I’m sure whomever is responsible for cobbling together this week’s schedule was thinking that it might be smart to put slightly similar designers closer together so that buyers and editors might be better able to make like comparisons. Such scheduling left one sitting at the Mary Katrantzou show wondering if the younger woman is trying to out-Westwood Dame Vivienne Westwood, which showed immediately prior to Katrantzou. Previous seasons, the two collections haven’t even been shown on the same day. To put them in such close viewing made it impossible to miss the comparisons. Perhaps, may I be the first to suggest Ms. Katrantzou might make a good successor to Dame Westwood when such a time sadly comes?

Arriving, late, for the Katrantzou presentation, the first thing one was forced to noticed was the floor. Mary has played with textured floors in previous seasons, but this one went to a bit of the extreme. First, it was pink. Pepto pink, actually. Obviously, the designer wasn’t planning on continuing the darker tone she’s embraced the past couple of seasons. Then, it was severely textured, rather like those egg crate mattresses they give you in the hospital, but more structured, kind of like the sound proofing panels in a recording studios. Apparently we wouldn’t be seeing anyone in heels walking this afternoon. To have attempted such would have certainly required medics spotting the models as they walked.

Sure enough, this was a much brighter set of patterns and textures than we’ve seen from Katrantzou the past few seasons. Colors not only popped, but were aided by mixing traditional brocades with plastic and metal finishings. To make things even more Westwood-like, the same foam that was on the runway continually appeared in panels of the clothes! I’m just going to assume that there was a sale on the stuff.

The other big thing that dominates this collection is the hobble skirts that gather just above the knee and then flare out, often quite dramatically. These are such strong pieces that, even though they only appeared on about a third of the 43 looks, they were what everyone remembered after the show. Well, the skirts and the coast with foam and plastic.

Everything else was Mary’s typical contrast of fabric, print, and texture, taking somewhat familiar silhouettes and giving one a reason to reconsider how well they work. Katrantzou produces the kind of clothes that encourage touching, which might be rather frightening for one who has personal space issues. Tactile and bright and vibrant, eclectic and maybe even just a touch bizarre, Mary Katrantzou was the perfect follow up to Vivienne Westwood’s Red Label.

Jonathan Saunders should take note: he’ll need more than impossibly bright colors to keep up with the girls. These ladies are designing circles around the guys.

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