For her debut runway collection, Mary Katrantzou jolted her audience—a packed house, at 9 a.m.—wide awake. As the recipient of New Generation funding, she used every resource to pull together an impressive development of the bold placement prints and jewelry she spent last season showing to buyers, gathering orders. Her motifs—simplified images of perfume bottles—packed a clean, colorful graphic punch and polish that belied the effort they had taken to assemble. "I found a printer called the Silk Bureau here in London," she laughed. "They do it in their garage."

Last season, Katrantzou's first offerings were all in a single shift shape. Their newness and wearability won plenty of takers on sight, but some were left wondering whether, as a textile specialist, she'd be able to broaden her line into different silhouettes. Katrantzou delivered impressively, adding fluted skirts and new dress shapes, long-line tubes, and zippered suede pants. Better still, she raised the level of her other talent as a jewelry designer, layering on giant necklaces constructed from gold tubing, chains, and mirrors. Again, it was a question of a determined young woman using every resource at her disposal, including the help of her family in Athens. As Katrantzou explained backstage, "My mother has a furniture-making factory. She's retired, but I forced her to get back in there and make me some pieces." It may be about the toughest time to launch a business, but this is a young talent whose vision and attitude are, by every indication, just about perfectly adapted to make things happen for herself.