C’est Magnifique!

There are always many heart-thumping moments during London Fashion Week and before I suspected that it was because of will to want to love everything that comes out of London Fashion Week, my biased feelings towards designers who I've seen from day 1 at their graduate collections and just my general patriotic ties to London itself.  Now, I'm confident that those feelings are being stripped away and that I can stand a little further back to see these collections for what they truly are.  Let's stop swaddling London fashion week designers with praise because we are willing LFW to become an equal to their NY/Milan/Paris counterparts and give it where it is due.  Case in point, I can genuinely say there can't be enough shouting and hurrah-ing over Mary Katrantzou's latest A/W 11-12 collection. 

The bias is admittedly lingering but as a designer whose prints could easily have placed boundaries upon her from the get-go of her CSM MA collection, it's actually been astonishing to see it mature and develop in the way that it has done in the past two seasons and this one in particular is definitely a major gear stick shift up (similar to what Meadham Kirchhoff have done).

At first glance, taking the objects of art that inhabited the rooms that featured in the last collection and zooming into them, seems too simplistic a concept but it's the fantastic scope of opulence, richness, depth and ultimately, fantasy that makes it work and the fact that the prints never look flat or 2-D because as always, Katrantzou's print placement is spot on. 

Let's get the main event out of the way first.  Katrantzou does KNITWEAR, a prospect that had a lot of people getting very excited about loosening their purse strings.  It's not yer' average lazy jumper or cardi though as the momentary injections of lurex yarns as well as the intricacies of the prints make these pieces stand out before any of the statement dresses have even gone over them.  Might seem a little silly to get so excited over a cardi but Katrantzou's mainstay of dresses have in the past limited her offering and now her collection has that extra shade of depth, which perhaps she was missing before.  





If you thought I was going to quibble about the Chinoserie passages that crop up in the collection, you'd be mistaken given that the context as well as application completely takes you away from the misapproprating zone and in fact I fully welcome Chinese poets under a tree watching the world go by with blooms all around them.  The William Morris-esque prints that don't seem to be shying away from this season, also make their way into Katrantzou's collection…



…with the best use of them on this satin biker jacket paired with a contrasting shirt, again broadening the application of Katrantzou's prints to a more accessible piece than say a cocoon-skirted dress…



Not that, cocoons aren't appreciated.  I'm still blubbing about the fact that I missed out on the S/S 11 lampshade boat…


The precision of Katrantzou's print application can really be seen here in this bonded satin coat, an elegant rigidity that she has perfected since day 1…






Koi carp lovers behold…


The last few pieces strayed from the short and stiffened cocoons with the injection of chiffon skirts and dresses that flared out with the help of several crinoline skirts underneath which I suppose completed the buildup from daywear to extravagant showpieces, again, emphasising a range that Katrantzou perhaps didn't have before. 






Let's talk about the shoes which area  collaboration with Christian Louboutin who went all out this season in making magic with Katrantzou's prints.  I also like the styling point of pulling the knitted leggings over the boots to make it more fluid…




The digesting time of having these pics sit on my computer whilst I type this in between Milan and Paris fashion weeks is useful to see that my heart was thumping for a reason when I saw this collection.  Fluttery moments haven't been coming thick and fast (not has anything been terrible either…) this season but the ones that do have stuck around in memory.  And it's not just because I Heart London. 

42 Replies to “C’est Magnifique!”

  1. Impressive collection. A little reminiscent of Balenciaga SS08 together with a touch of Mcqueen all wrapped up in a bit of regular Katranzou madness!
    I do not have the ability to wear any of it without looking a little cuckoo but you’d carry it off with aplomb, Susie. I do hope you get that yellow and cream floral print jacket!!!

  2. excuse my while i stoop to pick up my jaw – mind-blowingly WOW. the skirt in full bloom says it for me really – Katrantzou is in bloom and I wish we could get her work in Australia but then I should make space to support our own home-grown talent too! nice work Susie!

  3. Wow! What an amazing collections! I love the textiles, and her eye for pattern mixing is fantastic! It always makes me happy to see a designer who really has a strong background in art history as well.
    I wish I could wear outfits like this on a daily basis – they look so lush!

  4. Some of the dresses and the shoes really show off Mary Katrantzou’s signature style but I was pleasantly surprised by the knits. I agree that it does give depth to the collection and it’s fabulous how she has evolved through the seasons!

  5. I wasn’t bowled over by Mary’s earlier collections, I always preferred other print designers like Basso & Brooke, but these pieces are unreal! The detailed texture is incredible, and I love how the knitwear looks more like Bayeux tapestry… Next up – menswear! *crosses fingers*

  6. Mary Karantzou is clearly quite the genius. I adore the bejewelled skirt with the flowers on. Definitely not your average lazy knitwear – I’d wear something like that to visit the queen or something.

  7. YAY Susie I finally got to read a post of yours fully! Mary’s collection this season was clearly one of the stand outs. I’m so glad you got to see the stuff up close backstage because I have been mistaking the prints as something from greco-roman mosaics! Shock and horror in deed! Especially considering the amount of these ceramics lying around my home in London! I’m emailing your post to my mother right now who I’m sure is going to love it! YAY for Mary and Susie’s photos/writing!
    PS: glad you took the training wheels off LFW πŸ˜›

  8. Mary is that cherry in any pie: the textures, the colours, the shoes… Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh
    Something new and fresh, and unique…
    Thanks for shaing so much beauty Susie.

  9. Could anyone ever get tired of these beautiful patterns?- the knitwear alone will generate decades of appreciation. A great post, Susie.

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