Cosmology was a means of ancient societies trying to make sense of the universe. It was regarded a complex and orderly system, the opposite of chaos. Labyrinths are ferociously organised structures, chaotic and constructed to confuse. These two ideologies, cosmic and chaos, fuse in Mary Katrantzou SS2016 collection, expressing the concept of movement, of voyage into uncharted territories.
Exploration is evoked through reference to wide-ranging cultures, combining different elements of their styles to create a new, modern hybrid. Balkan dress, Spanish and Romanian attire, heritage tailoring and French couture workmanship are all interwoven to create a unique whole, a labyrinth of references forming a new image.
Godets of print, colour and maze-like channels of lace are inserted into wool and pinstripe chain tailoring, alongside puzzling pieces of print and lace and matelasse patterns inspired by roses embroidered into a natural labyrinth.
Insertions splice apart the jackets and coats, emphasising their complexity and allowing us to comprehend their structure, as in cosmology. The cosmos itself appears not only ideologically, but literally. Embroideries and prints draw on the Flammarion engraving of medieval cosmology, frequently used as an illustration of the quest for knowledge.
Rorsachach test prints - again, finding order in that which is organic, disordered or chaotic - inspire not only the print but the form of scarfdraped tops and dresses unfurling from a central point with mirrored panels. Closures are kept simple with ribbon ties, drawing shapes
The palette is solarised, contrasting brilliant, glowing colour with an undercurrent of sombre midnight shades. Metallic inserts, ribbons and pipings in lamé and chromed pearls glow. As with Ariadne's thread - the unfurling silk that solved the riddle of the labyrinth - Mary Katrantzou leads us to the solution of a puzzle of her own devising, mapping her own aesthetic voyage.