Sunday 16th September

| BY Claudia Croft

Mary Katrantzou: Ready-to-Wear SS19

How do you celebrate a decade in fashion? Mary Katrantzou marked the tenth anniversary of her label with a collection that not only referenced her past shows but explored the very idea of collecting itself.

Motifs on the clothes drew from philately, entomology and desirable ephemera (jewels, paintings and blown glass). The result was a hyper-crafted, shimmering jewel of a show that displayed the designer’s vivid colour sense as well as her ability to produce lavish couture-level pieces in her north London studio. One dress was covered in butterflies, each one different and rendered in dazzling beads. They were displayed in gleaming grids which went from small to large in scale as they travelled from bust to hem. One gown resembled a Fabergé egg, gleaming with crystals and cellophane frills. Another colourful chain link shift jingled like a sleigh bell over the specially commissioned Vangelis sound track as the model made her way around the circular catwalk of the Camden Roundhouse.

For Katrantzou, the process of looking back was a joyful one, allowing her to celebrate her own successes and build on her legacy. These weren’t replicas, but new threads of old conversations. The designer described it as a dialogue between her work then and now. Backstage a beaming Katrantzou revealed her favourite dresses were the trompe l’oeil Shalimar perfume bottle gowns. Painted on glass beads on hand-linked Swarovski mesh, they were a direct reference to her first London Fashion Week show. “That was the moment I realised I wanted to have my own business,” she said.

Back then she made them cocktail length, now they come as floor sweeping columns, giving original customers a reason to buy another one. There was plenty for the collector to covet in this precious display. The best thing about the past ten years? “I walk to work every day and realise I’m happy,” said the designer with a smile as dazzling as the crystals on her dresses. What more could anyone want?

Photographs by Jason Lloyd-Evans.