Tuesday, August 23, 2011

"It's a reference to a Chinese meal in Toronto, so I could be wrong." // 'You can be and ARE wrong.'

Dear Rosie,
We are here to blow your mind.
With affection,
Mary Katrantzou's S/S 11 Collection 

 My first thought was an exclamation of silent sound as the construction, line and colours of this garment arrested my vision. And then. And then. I leaned forward, probably scowling a scowl of scholarly concentration as I pondered dimly, "is that a... window?"

Well, yes. Yes it is. And armchairs with pink upholstery, green walls that would make Van Gogh proud, and a brilliant red and white stripey floor that perfectly extends the line of the model's legs. If you look closely (NB: this does not have to be as closely as I looked, wherein my nose was approximately 3cm from her windowsash waist) you see how brilliantly the interior of the print frames the linearity of her body.

And that was just the beginning.
 A mini crini lampshade!
The lovechild of a greenhouse and a dining room decorated by Liberty of London!

Of course, it's not just that the clothes are brilliantly tailored nor that they are a print-lover's wildest dreams come true. It's the cleverness of the concept. 

In this collection, Katrantzou's "almost hallucinogenic" (Tim Blanks) printed interiors enfold the models, subtly realising a couple of foundational ideas in fashion theory- namely, the capacity of clothing to render visible aspects of the wearer's inner self, and the concept of clothing as a metaphorical skin, one that both protects us and serves as the interface between our selves and the world beyond us. Which is not even to touch upon the idea of clothing as a dwelling, an entity that we inhabit, a brilliant idea I first heard from Stella which deserves a proper explanation from her rather than a half-baked one from the recesses of my memory. So basically that's three theoretical ideas deftly communicated by one collection, one that also happens to be executed with impeccable construction and original beauty. Pretty darn impressive.

According to Tim Blanks' review from style.co, Mary Katrantzou had 'been looking at the highly stylized seventies photography of Helmut Newton and Guy Bourdin when it occurred to her that the interiors in the pictures were just as important as the models. "With this collection, I wanted to put the room on the woman, rather than the woman in the room," Katrantzou said after the show. You could say Hussein Chalayan attempted something similar ten years ago, but his pieces were elements of a conceptual performance, while Katrantzou's were desirable clothes to be worn. The fact that they were also surreal masterpieces of the digital printer's craft only made them more seductive.'

And now for a couple more looks because they are, quite simply, fantastic and just a little bit amusing as well. I find it kind of funny how straight-faced the models are. If I was one of them, I'd be pointing features out to the audience with a goofy grin- "look! my chest is a mantelpiece! A mantelpiece!" I guess that's the reason I'm not a model. 


All images from style.com


  1. Oh, my..this whole collection is just fantastic..loving it and the thought process behind it all..The Green house is my fave!

    A x