Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Posted by Bethan Holt, Fashion Junior at Large

Today is 'We <3 Mary' day here at FEAL HQ- last night I was lucky enough to meet the fabulous Greek designer herself at an event hosted by My Daily. This morning, the FashEd and I have been singing the praises of her bubbly, all-embracing approach to interacting with her fans, as well as her talent for combining print and shape in ever more visionary ways. Basically, Mary Katrantzou is our new girl crush because she can be a consumately professional design extraordinaire and a really nice person all at the same time! In this spirit, Mary has joined My Daily as a Contributing Editor; alongside her avid tweeting and enthusiasm to build the best possible website this makes her one of the most web savvy, and accessible, young designers out there.

Me, the Fashion Junior, with Mary Katrantzou
 MyDaily editor Libby interviewed Mary last night and they covered everything from Mary's switch from studying Archtitecture in the US to Textile Design in London to the difference between a size 10 Mary dress and a size 14 ('the bigger the lady, the more print she gets'). Mary had plenty of snippets to divulge about how her business will grow in the future. Next June, she is hoping to launch her first pre-collection. She also wants to respond to all the interest men have shown in her designs- her SS12 blazer has been a popular order from the boys- by launching her own men's line in time. Bigger ambitions include a stand alone store in the middle of London, in a space which she can change all the time to suit the prevailing themes of her designs.
This blazer was inspired by simple Helmut Lang shapes from the 90s (image from
Actually, Mary is a big fan of London. She claims that she would not be in fashion at all if it weren't for the world-renowned MA course at Central Saint Martins; she was tempted to stick to Textile Design but couldn't forego the opportunity to study under the guidance of Professor Louise Wilson whom she says 'gave me the confidence to talk about my work and forced me to develop a signature'. Mary was adamant that she'll be staying in London and showing her work in the young design context of London Fashion Week rather than trying to compete with bigger labels in other cities.
The final look from Mary Katrantzou SS12- The shape of a flower was the silhoutte which underpinned this collection (image from
After the interview, I asked Mary how she was feeling about the timing clash of London and Milan fashion weeks in February. She acknowledged that it would be difficult but her spin made me think about situation differently. From a buyer's perspective, she suggests, London designers are currently among the most attractive because they pose less risk and can be more flexible than big, well-established labels. In the current economic climate, in which retail is taking quite a bashing, buyers like the fact that they can negotiate more on delivery times and minimum orders with the smaller labels, many of which are based in London. Crucially, their commerciality and growing reputation as exciting designers mean it's not a compromise for customers. Mary was also quick to point out that her designs and those of her peers are frequently being included in big editorial shoots around the world. The Katrantzou show is usually scheduled for the Tuesday of fashion week, by which time 'all the models have left for Gucci' so facing obstacles because of schedule clashes in nothing new for the Katrantzou team to deal with.
Mary Katrantzou AW11, photographed by Sean and Seng for POP

The FashEd interviewed Mary for the current issue of POP- I've included it here and we defy you not to have developed a full blown girl crush by the time you've finished. When I mentioned to Mary that I worked with Melanie, she was full of love for this piece. My Daily is also offering the chance to win a dress from Mary's SS12 collection- and if you're not a lucky winner and budgets don't stretch to the real Mary thing, you only have to hold out until February when her capsule collection for Topshop drops, hurrah!