When Mary Katrantzou mentioned Fantasia and the colors of Disney movies in relation to her Resort collection, something clicked. The wondrous intensity of the world she has created with her designs is akin to a complex piece of animation, maybe even more so for Resort, where Victorian picture books and candy-colored fairy tales were among the inspirations. The most elaborately embroidered creation Katrantzou has ever conceived told the story of Swan Village, with a river winding through a landscape dotted with clocks, violins, a whale, a drum kit…all of it mounted on organza and attached to a crepe back, because—never forget—Katrantzou was making dresses here.
Last season, Katrantzou's collection was inspired by symbols and signs, tokens of nonverbal communication. The once-upon-a-time nature of Swan Village signposted Resort's new direction—storytelling through words and everything to do with them: letters, calligraphy, fonts, typography. The in-house design team's source material ranged from the medieval Book of Kells to Art Deco Maxfield Parrish to graphic design legend Milton Glaser, with letters used every which way, from jacquarded to embossed to glitter-flocked onto chiffon. Glitter was, in fact, sprinkled liberally over the entire collection, like Tinker Bell's stardust. Katrantzou couldn't get enough of the glitter tulle she found in the archives of the company that supplied her with the sparkly stuff.
So graphic was the content that it demanded simplicity from the style. Katrantzou thought short was the most suitable silhouette, especially flaring little bloomers. The shapes of the letters themselves also played a part: S-bend, V-neck, an A-shaped halter, its crossbar formed by a belt. And one of the season's smartest brand extensions was the set of four handbags, spelling M, A, R, and Y.
Katrantzou's mastery of her craft is now so complete that each collection is more enthralling than the one before. Which, considering that it was a pre-collection, not designed to be exhibited on a catwalk, made Resort even more impressive. At one point, she did consider showing it as her main line for Spring, but figured it was visually too close to Fall. Besides, she already had something else in the pipeline for September. And that's what we call luxury of choice.