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MARY KATRANTZOU: MOTIF MASTER

Swarovski visits Mary Katrantzou's London studio for a chat exploring the depths of her musings.

Born to an interior designer mother and a father who worked in textile design, the Athens-bred Katrantzou was drawn into the world of art and design at an early age. Her interest in the industry led her to America where she would study Architecture at the Rhode Island School of Design, and then later Central Saint Martins to receive a degree in Textile Design. This culmination of education allowed for a broad understanding of construction and composition, making for a solid backbone to support Katrantzou’s visions.

The designer’s admiration for prints permits for unique and extravagant creations which continue to ascend the fundamental methods in which graphics can be applied to fashion design. Employing vivid colors, intriguing textures, and amusing motifs to carefully developed silhouettes, Katrantzou creates innovative clothing that is luxurious, artful, and cerebral.

What’s your unlikeliest source of inspiration?
I find inspiration can come from everywhere, from symbolism to applied design to art and architecture. I love to obsess over one idea, dissecting the inspiration to re-assemble a collage of contrasting references.

How does your background in textiles influence your designs and design approach?
My interest in textiles led me to print and fashion in the first place. I enjoy the incredible freedom that textiles and print bring to translate any visual reference into art pieces mapped around the female form.

Favorite place to escape to?
I always love being able to head home to Greece to relax with my friends and family as well as be invigorated by the culture and architecture. In the warmer months we always try to catch some time in Crete or Spetses for the perfect summer getaway.

How do the Swarovski crystal elements communicate your overall vision? Is there meaning in the patterns and shapes?
Our collaboration with Swarovski is always a great opportunity to push the boundaries of surface embellishment and further add depth to each collection. We have explored so many techniques in the past and one of the latest we developed for Spring/Summer 2017 used crystals as the centerpiece of an Op Art flower motif that was laser cut into 3D petals and linked together to create a Perspex dress. It's always a great challenge to find new ways of working with the brilliance of Swarovski and each collection teaches us a new skill, a new creative idea.

How did you choose your classic motifs? Do they have special meaning to you personally, or from a heritage point of view?
Each motif evolves from the creative theme of the season and I like to be able to evolve new ideas every season. For Spring/Summer 2017, Minoan goddesses and deities were featured across the pieces, and for Autumn/Winter 2016, butterflies, hearts, stars and arrows were key. It’s always exciting to see these themes emerge as the collection develops.

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