Vogue International Editor Suzy Menkes is the best-known fashion journalist in the world. After 25 years commenting on fashion for the International Herald Tribune (rebranded recently as The International New York Times), Suzy Menkes now writes exclusively for Vogue online, covering fashion worldwide.
Mary Katrantzou: from the Balkans to the Stars
21 Сентября 2015
When Mary Katrantzou told me that she was thinking about Time of the Gypsies, I thought how apposite that seemed, since the 1988 film following a telekinetic Romani boy through Sarajevo and Milan is a benchmark of how things stood before the region was torn apart by conflict.
That film has been the inspiration for many fashion shows, and I sat down expecting a wild spectacle of colour and pattern.
"But it didn't turn out like that," said Katrantzou, who was only five years old when the film was made.
What did I see instead? Colour, pattern and a deep creative process had compacted her initial inspiration into dense but wearable clothes - far from the more conceptual pieces of her previous season combining Victoriana and technology.
"I took different elements from Balkan wedding clothes and pieces from Mediterranean countries," said the designer, as she continued our conversation by describing a move into cosmology as inspiration.
"All the prints are based around really intricate motifs from this amazing nineteenth-century engraving that depicts the world flat and the stars built into the sea," Mary said.
It is a privilege to learn about her internal inspiration and a joy when the result is so good: those stars breaking into patterns as if on to the ocean's surface - but all of that compressed into a shapely, short dress.
The simplicity of the silhouette did not limit Katrantzou's expression, because the decoration was so dense, each outfit a work of loving hands. And that meant cobweb-fine knitwear as well as intense mixes of fabrics.
The Balkan reference was to jackets traditionally worn by the groom, which came through as twisted tailoring incorporated into the silhouette.
The fashion miracle of the collection was that the clothes all seemed so streamlined and wearable, however Mary's magpie, gypsy mind may have travelled.
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