A brush with national bankruptcy, an EU bailout, political upheaval and a refugee crisis — Greece has not had a happy history in recent years. But Mary Katrantzou is on her way to pep up single-handedly her birth country.
Fusing ancient civilisation and futurism, unearthing Minoan artefacts and giving classic frescoes a brush over with 1960's pop art, the designer gave Greece a chance to be in the cradle of fashion civilisation.
Looking at her collection, this was Greek culture with no compromises — chariots riding at an angle across A-line dresses, Sunray striping on narrow trousers and patterns exploding around Grecian vase decoration on the breast of a dress.
"It was all Greece — I was looking at the Minoan civilisation and doing it in a way that I feel is very genuine to me — not to shy away from print, not to shy away from graphics, nor from silhouettes I’ve done before. I wanted to keep it very true to what it is."
The surprising fact, after hearing a full explanation from Mary before the show, was how simple — if colourful — the clothes looked. Weaving their way past truncated Greek plinths, the models seemed to express an energetic freedom, striding along with none of the draped bodies and bared shoulders so particular to Ancient Greeks.
As Mary's descriptive words poured out, it was, to use an appropriate cliché, all Greek to me.
"So there’s an infusion of very optic, kinetic, psychedelic ways of distorting and warping the Minoan deities, priests and all the females of Minoan times," the designer explained.
"It is in the shape of an optic flower that is then engraved with the shape that you find within the pottery. Then we used chainmail and bonded it with lace and overprinted it so it looks almost like broken fresco."
The heart of what I gleaned from Mary Katrantzou was that she had not done a full on print show for three years — and that it seemed the right time to try new developments.
There was a great deal to digest. But the overall effect was appetising.