Fashion Case Study: Mary Katrantzou
Born in Athens, Greece, Mary Katrantzou attended the Rhode Island School of Design where she studied Architecture before transferring her degree to London Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design were she enrolled in both a BA and MA in fashion. Working for Sophia Kokosalaki and freelancing for Bill Blass, Katrantzou immersed herself in the creative ambitions of the industry. In 2008, her collection opened the Central Saint Martins graduate show. The digital print trompe l’oeil dresses paired with matching giant wooden and metal necklaces captured the imaginations of the audience and Katrantzou’s work was nominated for the Harrods and the L'Oreal Professional award.
Katrantzou’s first independent ready-to-wear collection for autumn/winter 2008 was shown at London Fashion Week and selected by 15 stockists, including Browns, Joyce and Penelope in Italy. She was subsequently selected to be a recipient of the British Fashion Council’s (BFC) NEWGEN scheme for six seasons; from spring/summer 2009 until autumn/winter 2011/12. In November 2010, Katrantzou was named winner of the Swiss Textiles Award and a few months later she showed her collection at Aurora Fashion Week in Russia. Katrantzou then collaborated with Topshop on three high-street collections, as well as designing a line of luxury bags for Longchamp.
In 2011, Katrantzou’s excellence in ready-to-wear was recognised at the British Fashion Awards, where she won the Emerging Talent prize. That June, she collaborated with artist Pablo Bronstein to design the costumes for a pioneering exhibition at the Insitute of Contemporary Art in London, in which he used different forms of media to illustrate his signature architectural works, including dance. A turning point in Katrantzou's career was spring/summer 2011 when her lampshade skirt collection took London Fashion Week by storm, inspiring copy-cat collections for the high street.
Following her catwalk success, Katrantzou was shortlisted for the BFC Vogue/Designer Fashion Fund in 2011, unveiling her debut capsule collection for Topshop shortly afterwards. In March 2012, Katrantzou raised her international profile by taking her collection to LA as part of the British Fashion Council’s LONDON show ROOMS. A year later, Katrantzou embarked on another designer collaboration; this time with denim brand Current/Elliott. An unstoppable force in the global fashion industry, Mary Katrantzou now boasts over 100 stockists in more than 30 different countries.