Back in the day, dreaming up a dress with 25 distinct references, Mary Katrantzou compared herself to an interior designer. In her new Resort collection, there are maybe five references per outfit. "It's nowhere near as complex," she said the other day. "Now I'm not designing interiors. I'm more a landscape artist."
This is the first time Katrantzou has created a Resort collection. Some designers use Resort to anticipate; others, to consolidate. The latter is the route she took, using her Fall collection as a launchpad. Hence, the landscape art. But if Fall's landscapes were melancholy monochrome, Resort's were the intense tones of flowers, just as if the sun had come out. In fact, to walk into Katrantzou's new showroom space lined with color-coded racks felt a little like walking into a giant, gorgeous greenhouse, with roses climbing up trellises, and a wildflower meadow, and tree branches lacing themselves together over ornamental ponds, and, looming over everything, an enormous industrial framework keeping the world at bay. Rather sci-fi, in fact—which might explain why Katrantzou's most haunting print was an impossible vision that melted together a post-nuclear desert, a mirror-still lagoon on which a Japanese fisherman floated (with a dragon on his shoulder!), and a slab of cantilevered modernist architecture. And please do remember this is a dress we're talking about—although the same print did reoccur in sweatshirts in raffia or sheer mesh.
Given such extravagant visuals, the designer was best off providing the most straightforward screen, which, for the most part, Katrantzou did. The indulgences she allowed herself worked more often than not. The biker jacket whose print mirrored that on the dress underneath, for instance. Or the strapless silk dress veiled in an organza printed with the same landscape, one a beautifully spectral echo of the other. Katrantzou claimed she has moved on from a quest for perfection to something more emotional, and it was all there.