Monday 18 December 2017

Mary Katrantzou: The art of fashion

Designer Mary Katranzu with models wearing her designs. Photo courtesy of Brown Thomas
Designer Mary Katranzu with models wearing her designs. Photo courtesy of Brown Thomas

Anne Marie Boyhan

The Athens-born designer Mary Katrantzou's intelligent use of illusory digital print, inspired by the art of trompe l'oeil, has wowed the fashion world since the launch of her label in 2009.

Independent Woman caught up with her when she was in town recently to find out more:

The “Art of Fashion” exhibition is an ode to your fashion designs – do you think that art and fashion are linked?

The dialogue I think is something that’s inspired all my collections. I think that it makes sense and [the Baroque chapel at IMMA] is an amazing setting.

Which of your designs are you showcasing here at the Irish Museum of Modern Art tonight and in Brown Thomas windows this week?

I’m showing a mini retrospective of my not so long career in fashion which spans from autumn winter 09 to autumn winter 11.

It ranges from collections inspired by perfume bottles, by interiors, by blown glass, by 18th century portraits, so everything’s relating back to art.

How did you get your start in fashion design?

It happened gradually. I transferred from architecture to Centre St. Martins to study textiles and then I taught myself how to work with Photoshop and print imaging. I was working on hyper real imagery that made much more sense in fashion (than textiles).

So then I did an MA in Fashion in St. Martins again and was really lucky to gain the support of Louise Wilson my professor but also Sarah Morough who wrote an amazing review on and ever since I’ve grown the business. Brown Thomas has stocked my collections for the past three seasons now and it’s nice to see the label grow.

How does art influence your fashion?

Directly. It’s about looking into art and filtering the beauty as its seen and applying it into design; so for a press release for my last season collection which was inspired by objects d’art, there was a quote saying that I wanted it to be a work of art. And that’s what I try and do, sometimes in a very direct literal way, sometimes in a more commercial sense; creating each concept around the female figure but giving each design something unique, like a room print or a perfume print – but always with great respect to the female silhouette.

What can we expect from Mary Katranzou for autumn winter 11?

Autumn winter was a natural progression from SS11, spring summer 11 which was based on interiors inspired by rooms. The idea came from old issues of architectural digest and World of Interiors, which have highly stylised seventies photography - so it became about the objects and interiors in those magazines and any prize possession ranging from priceless objets d’art: Coromandel screens, Faberge eggs, Qianlong dynasty china and Meissen porcelain. This season the porcelain bowls become rounded skirts on pinafores, and the open halves of a Faberge egg form dramatic peplums over the hips. It’s the best collection I’ve done so far...and it’s displayed here [at IMMA] tonight as well.

As part of the Irish Museum of Modern Art museum’s 20th Anniversary celebrations, “Art of Fashion”, Brown Thomas has curated a retrospective installation of internationally celebrated fashion designer Mary Katrantzou’s signature looks over the past four seasons. The exhibition pieces will be displayed in the windows of Brown Thomas Dublin from Monday May 30th for two weeks.

Anne Marie Boyhan is the editor of fashion and lifestyle site,

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