When Mary Katrantzou was designing her SS 14 “Shoes” collection, unbeknownst to people at the time, her first collection for adidas Originals was just coming to fruition in the research stage. Looking back, that passage of trainer dresses in that collections makes a whole lot of sense as similar prints have made their way into the newly available collection with adidas that just dropped into adidas Originals stores and onto Mary Katrantzou’s website over the weekend. “It was very serendipitous as adidas approached us when we were doing this collection based around the shoe.”
The result of this one year process of Katrantzou delving deep into adidas’ archives in Nuremberg in Germany was that she took adidas iconography like the trefoil and worked it into blown up prints of running shoes from the 1970s and 80s, honing in on the laces, outsoles and the spikes on a shoe – all digitally rendered in a way that is by now signature to Katrantzou. Her mainline collections might be on an experimental trajectory that is taking Katrantzou away from print but this adidas Originals cements what we know and love about her work.
“It’s like a resurfacing of print!” said Katrantzou. “I like that I’m at a place where I can do certain things that are different from what people initially knew of my work and I like that I have the flexibility that I can bring without feeling it’s not relevant. It gives you a bit of freedom and given that I’ve only been designing for six years, I’m still evolving but that doesn’t mean the path of print is cut off from me. It’s about where is it relevant and when it right and for adidas, it was absolutely right!”
What drew Katrantzou to collaborating with adidas was the fact that, their fashion collaborators have all created very distinct products that are true to them be it Raf Simons, Rick Owens or Stella McCartney. It’s no surprise that Katrantzou focused on print as opposed to performance, especially as it’s an adidas Originals collection, designed to be worn by anyone as opposed to having a specific functionality in mind. “The sportswear element was less bout how well the materials performed but more about what is the iconography that signifies adidas,” said Katrantzou. “I know what they do with performance and what their capabilities are. adidas’ objective for me was to design a collection under Originals which can be worn by anyone. Something that fits within the aesthetic of adidas but also a true collaboration between myself and the brand.”
Katrantzou delivers on high octane surface factor as well as on a collection that is perhaps the most “fashion-y” of adidas collections we’ve seen. The dresses, t-shirts and bomber jackets at first glance look like they could have sprung out from under Mary Katrantzou’s sporty umbrella and I doubt you’re going to be seeing the collection sweating under the gym lights. What adidas gives Katrantzou though is the mechanisms and know how to create impactful product within a price bracket, which she can’t do herself. The prices aren’t rock bottom cheap but are a fraction of Katrantzou’s increasingly embroidered, almost demi-couture pieces and Katrantzou aficionados of which there are many, will find the collection an exciting prospect.
“It’s an opportunity to offer something that will have a much wider audience,” said Katrantzou. “When we came back from Nuremberg, we counted on the way back from the airport to the studio, over 70 people wearing adidas, which is shocking. It’s something that I wouldn’t be able to do within my own collection. It’s a vehicle to be able to say, “Yes, you can buy this!”
For Katrantzou, the collection is yet another impressive milestone in what has only been six years of designing and it’s a project that has been chosen strategically at an exiting moment when the brand is on the precipice of further expansion. “I’m not somebody who believes in collaboration for the sake of a collaboration,” said Katrantzou. “It has to challenge you or you have to be learning something new. We’ve been approached by different companies by lots of different things and in the end you decide to do the things that excite you the most.”
adidas Originals x Mary Katrantzou Track ZX 5000 shoes
adidas Originals x Mary Katrantxou tank dress, fitted t-shirt and Bomfared Equipment shoes
adidas Originals x Mary Katrantzou mesh top and skirt worn with Dries van Noten shoes and Junya Watanabe biker jacket
adidas Originals x Mary Katrantzou bomber jacket worn with Mother of Pearl dress and Marc Jacobs shoes
P.S. I’m starting to think I need to put together a This Collab is Dropping into Stores Google Calendar for everyone to peruse because they’re coming in so thick and fast at this time of year. Would you be interested, somewhat interested or not interested? Which one? Which one?