Mary Katrantzou Resort 2016 collection explores the merging of the two paradigms. Embracing a fascination with the autonomous qualities of pure form and colour, this pursuit of optical phenomena is juxtaposed with traditional botanical illustrations from 18th century studies of plant morphology, herbals and pharmacopeia. The pioneers behind the science of visual perception, observing the simultaneous harmony of the brain and eye and their ability to perceive colour, light, depth, perspective, shape and motion through artistic mediums. In a similar scientific pursuit, the botanical artists of the 1800’s sought to capture the essence of botanical subjects through illustration. Illustrations were perceived as scientifically viable sources of information depicting the form, colour and details of plant species, with the artists often having a solid grounding in plant morphology to reinforce the illustration’s scientific weight.
A symbiosis of geometric lines and hand painted flora and the delineation of both, form the thematic entity that inspires the imagery, fabrication and silhouette in this collection. Lithographically printed, turn of the century, seed packets are a source of inspiration. The floral imagery is intertwined with op art lines that circle around the figure, dispersing into knife and sunray pleats, creating skirts light in movement. Tulips and roses grow into ruffled collars, balanced by the linear knife pleats that are matched to the graphic lines, blending harmoniously. Light in weight and reinforcing ease in movement, the garments slip on without any fastenings. Colours are heightened; flora is enlarged and tied into a bouquet through reinforcing the systematic optical effect of the geometric stripes meeting at the waist.
In a series of looser fitted staple pieces, block bright colour is introduced. References to the illustrated album cover Language. Sex. Violence. Other? By graphic designer Graham Rounthwaite manifest themselves in sunrays of colour that burst into movement from precision slits defining a wardrobe of tops, blouses, skirts and dresses. Held by spaghetti straps, the pleated sunrays of colour feel weightless, strategically positioned to add volume to an otherwise linear silhouette. The cuts create a sense of freedom, revealing an explosion of colour when in movement, yet exercising restraint while static. Sharp silhouettes are also introduced through tailored blazers and wide-leg pants in monochromatic shades, slashed open and inserted with bursts of colourful sunray pleats, adding movement and dimension to the collection.
Peter Saville’s typography, based on the modular colour-coded alphabet, also inspires the rings of stripes forming the basis of layered tunic silhouettes. These pieces are defined by strata of pleated chiffon mousseline, offering the wearer the option to interchange lengths and recreate their own interpretation. Silhouettes are indicative of the contrast between delicate botanical illustrations and the abstract functionality of techy design. Fluid techy crépons are printed, wrapped or pleated to create kinetic movement in flowing skirts and dresses that fall loose and nonchalant.
Katrantzou’s exploration of fabrics continues through the creation of bespoke, horizontally striped jacquards and broderie anglaise optic dots over a printed surface - a modern collage of texture and colour. Devore striped jacquards on high hemlines are combined with knitted ribs and hand embroidered pompoms on to fine knits to add texture to the graphic op-nature of the prints.
The broderie anglaise is designed over a printed field of flowers on cotton and combined with dotted lace to create pretty shirtdresses, boxy tops, track pants and a-line coats. In white, it offers a solution to daywear matching the same level of intricacy and detail that is explored through laser cut sequins in soft pastel tops and ostrich feathered cardigans for occasion wear. Silhouettes converse with one another; abbreviated lengths in luxe sateens are balanced with a wide leg broderie anglaise trouser and sweeping, pleated dresses. An insight into the world behind the responsive eye of Katrantzou.