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Mary Katrantzou: London Fashion Week A/W 2012 Catwalk Review

Standing ticket? Pft. Never mind; I'd do a handstand for an hour if forced, if it meant I got to see the wondrous Mary Katrantzou dazzle the crowds - as I did on Tuesday 21 February at the Old Billingsgate Newgen venue…

Written by Matt Bramford

Mary Katrantzou A/W 2012 by Janneke de Jong

Allow me to depict the glamour of fashion week for you. My friends go green with envy when I say I’m ‘doing’ fashion week (or at least they used to, until they saw the state it left me in). My family start ‘wooing’ at the mere mention of it, baffled as to how a coal miner’s son is even allowed in to these places. I’m surprised they haven’t written a letter to the British Fashion Council asking them if they’ve gone mad.

Mary Katrantzou A/W 2012 by Lesley Barnes

Well, here’s how glamorous it is. I began day 5 – Tuesday – by dragging myself out of bed and squeezing myself onto the tube. Sweat poured down my face as I made the not easy decision as to whether to nestle into someone’s armpit or perversely gyrate against somebody’s back. I arrived at the Old Billingsgate venue at 8.30. I joined the standing queue, in the freezing cold, in which I waited for an hour trying to avoid idle chitchat with neighbouring standees. The sun glared on my face in an effort to render me blind. By the time we were allowed into the venue, we were herded like cattle onto a balcony overlooking the show, seats still visible. I felt like a child looking through a closed sweet shop window. Even the balcony was oversubscribed and I was elbowed from all directions. Not for the first time.

Mary Katrantzou A/W 2012 by Mitika Chohan

I could moan for a lot longer, but occasionally you see a show that makes it all worth it. Yes, my friends, it’s time for me to gush about Mary Katrantzou again.

I genuinely believe there isn’t anybody on the London Fashion Week schedule who is as inspiring, revolutionary and innovative as our Mary. There really is no wonder that it’s a scrum to get in, that social media goes wild post-show or that people fall to the floor at the mere mention of her name. Well, that last one I made up, but with the mighty Wintour in attendance the show kicked off and the room fell deathly silent. This season, Mary discovers the beauty in everyday items. Pencils, crayons, spoons and chess pieces are elevated to a sublime status. The invitation I had so carefully clung too in the queue – lenticular no less – featured a spectrum of crayons. It was this spectrum that would unfold in the show.

All photography by Matt Bramford

The first pieces in ivory reminded us of Mary’s unique silhouettes, not that we needed to be reminded. Structured tailoring of a contemporary nature was influenced by Victorian techniques, with exaggerated shoulders and bustle-like elements. Prints featured large spoons and coat hangers, transforming household staples into an iconic items.

Next came the hues – petrol blue, rich red, yellow and green numbers appeared. This season, for the first time, Mary presented ‘matching’ outfits – models wore the same colour head-to-toe. The humble HB pencil was repeated to create a bold, geometric print; a classic watch became the centrepiece of a striking cropped dress.

Mary Katrantzou A/W 2012 by Lesley Barnes

The fashion world mourned the death of François Lesage in December last year – head of Lesage, one of the last French haute couture embroidery houses. It is a fitting tribute that the house has worked with one of our brightest stars this season: the first time it has ever worked with a London designer. ‘No sequin is left unturned’ says Mary, which is pretty evident when you see these pieces. Body-con dresses were embellished with hundreds and thousands of sequins and jewels, and my photographs (and any that I’ve seen online) don’t do these pieces justice, which brought audible gasps to Old Billingsgate.

Mary Katrantzou A/W 2012 by Sarah Jayne Draws

Mary Katrantzou A/W 2012 by Nicola Ellen

There was a hint of old-school Versace in some of the prints, although I say that cautiously because I’ve been thinking that about everything since that infamous H&M collaboration. What this collection really sold was Mary’s inimitable style, whilst still being capable of offering something entirely different. At fashion week you generally find a really good print designer whose silhouettes could do with a bit of work, or vice-versa. But with Mary, you get both.

Mary Katrantzou A/W 2012 by Mitika Chohan

Hail Mary!

Oh, also – here’s that invite for fellow print pervs. Just wonderful.


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7 Responses to “Mary Katrantzou: London Fashion Week A/W 2012 Catwalk Review”

  1. Angela says:


  2. Amelia says:

    I agree!

  3. Matt says:

    Thankyou, both! x

  4. Alia says:

    LOVE this post! Lush writing, pics, and illustrations x

  5. Georgia Takacs says:

    ‘Fellow print pervs’, haha! In even the most awkward of positions you’re placed at a fashion show, you alway manage to capture the most wonderful photos Matt! Just love this blog post! And the illustrations – wow. Mary Katrantzou is just incredible and you’ve really done her justice x

  6. great blog matt! and I love the invite please can we have a blog about the invites!?

  7. Matt says:

    Thankyou, ladies! Lesley that is SUCH a good idea, can’t believe we haven’t done it before… x

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