Mary Katrantzou was born in Athens in 1983, to an interior designer mother and an father who worked in textile design. Having developed an appreciation of applied design from an early age, she moved to America for a BA in Architecture at the Rhode Island school of design, before transferring to Central Saint Martins to complete her BA degree in textile design. Graduating from her BA in 2005, Katrantzou shifted her direction from textile design to womenswear with a focus on print. When studying at Central Saint Martin’s she became interested in the way that printed textiles can change the shape of a woman’s body and so then went on to graduate in MA Fashion from Central Saint Martins with distinction.
Katrantzou’s graduating show in 2008 mapped out her signature style. It was themed around trompe l’oeil prints of oversized jewellery featured on jersey-bonded dresses. These pieces created the illusion of wearing giant neckpieces that would be too heavy in reality. She also designed real jewellery made out of wood and metal that were exact replicas of the prints. From the beginning her work has been about perception and perspective and channeling that through a visual language that is used to design desirable clothes that are flattering. Her first first ready-to-wear collection debuted with a presentation at London Fashion Week in spring/summer 2009, with the support of the BFC and the New Gen Scheme. From there, Katrantzou picked up 15 prestigious stockists including Browns, Joyce and Colette. She now boasts over 250 stockists ranging from Joyce and Colette to Selfridges and Barneys. Mary achieved show status the following season, in Autumn Winter 2009.
Mary Katrantzou’s thematic collections revolve around an icon of luxury, looking for the filtered beauty within it; an object from art or design that a woman would not be able to wear if it were real. Previous seasons have seen collections based on perfume bottles, interiors and objects of Art, flower fields, everyday objects, vintage postage stamps, landscapes, and most recently, shoes, all keeping the printed image central to her aesthetic. “Print can be as definitive as a cut or a drape and allows a woman to filter beauty found in design, in a subversive way. All my prints are constructed through digital technology. Digital print allows me to experiment with print in a way that fine art and other methods could not. It opens up a huge spectrum for possibility; I can create possibility out of impossibility, surrealism out of realism and both vice versa.” Print, being so visual, has allowed her to create her own distinctive world but in the visual language that she creates, colour texture and shape are equally important to print; creating something new, something innovative and something that people will appreciate for its intelligent design aesthetic, as well as its function. Each print is designed around the garment, and the garment simultaneously around the print.
In 2010 Mary was awarded the prestigious Swiss Textiles Award and in November 2011 she was awarded the British Fashion Award for Emerging Talent in Womenswear. In February 2012 was awarded Young Designer of the Year at the Elle Style Awards and in 2013 Katrantzou was nominated for Designer of the Year at the British Fashion Awards alongside Christopher Kane and Stella McCartney.
As well as producing a second collection for Topshop in 2012, Mary Katrantzou has also collaborated with Swarovski on a jewellery collection and worked with couture embroidery house, Lesage on her AW12 and SS14 collections. February 2012 saw the release of her much anticipated collaboration with Longchamp, where she created a capsule collection of signature bags and totes. Past collaboartions also include Moncler M, a 25 piece collection based apon the interiors of cars and gypsy caravans as well as and a full range of pieces with reknowned denim brand Current Elliot based on her Spring Summer 2013 Collection. Most recently, Mary has teamed up with global sports brand, adidas, to present adidas Originals by Mary Katrantzou, a capsule collection of innovative apparel and footwear emblazoned in the designer’s iconic, hyper-color, kaleidoscopic patterns.
Mary Katrantzou designed her first bridal gown for Carolina Gonzalez Bunster, who wed Stefano Bonfiglo in the Dominican republic in April 2014. Inspired by the billowing gowns from her AW14 collection, the dress was made up of 140 metres of pure silk chiffon.
Having launched her first flagship online store in October 2013, Marykatrantzou.com has existed as a world which encompasses the brand in a fully compromised digital space “The aim of our website is to elevate the experience of fashion, and engage the customer to enter a world where fashion, art and design are all interlinked as a means of expression.”