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Mary Katrantzou was born in Athens in 1983, to an interior designer mother and a father who trained in textile design. 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. During this time, Katrantzou worked on a freelance basis as a print designer for Bill Blass. Graduating from her BA in 2005, Katrantzou shifted her direction from textile design to womenswear with a focus on print. She 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. Mary Katrantzou’s first ready-to-wear collection debuted at London fashion week in spring/summer 2009, with the support of the bfc and the NEWGEN scheme. Despite a small collection of nine dresses, Katrantzou picked up 15 prestigious stockists including browns, joyce and colette. The designer achieved show status the following season, in autumn/winter 2009.
Her thematic collections revolve around an icon of luxury, an object from art or design that a woman would not be able to wear if it were real. Mary has based the collections on perfume bottles, artisan blown glass, eighteenth century society paintings, and interiors while keeping the printed image central to her aesthetic. Her collections are complimented by a capsule jewellery line with the same play of illusion and effect, highlighting her other talent, that of a jewellery designer. Her work was featured in publications including Vogue, Dazed & Confused, The New York Times, Wallpaper* and Grazia. She now boasts over 100 stockists ranging from 10 corso como to barneys. For the fifth season Mary was a recipient of the NEWGEN award, presenting her show for autumn winter 2011.
In 2010 Mary was awarded the prestigious Swiss Textiles Award. As well as producing a second collection for Topshop she has collaborated on a perfume with six scents, entitled Trompe l’oeil’ and with atelier Swarovski on a jewellery collection. In November 2011 Mary was awarded the British Fashion Award for Emerging Talent: womenswear and in February 2012 was awarded Young Designer of the Year at the Elle Style Awards. February 2012 saw the release of her much anticipated collaboration with Longchamp creating a capsule collection of their signature bags and totes. For autumn/winter 2012 the collection takes on a couture element with Mary working with the renowned Parisian embroidery house Lesage, a first of its kind collaboration with a London designer.
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