September 15, 2013 London
Katrantzou offered shoes three ways: the laces, eyelets, and perforations of polished brogues blown up to make lush abstracts; the high-tech artifice of sport shoes molding the body instead of the foot; the sugary embellishment of a delicate evening slipper spun into rococo fantasias. The placement of the prints was, as usual, immaculate. The way huge shoelaces curved around a thigh, for instance, or the rubberized sole of a sneaker arched around a torso had an erotic charge. The shapes Katrantzou chose to highlight these effects were perfectly appropriate, too. One innovation was a pliant micro-pleated cocoon suspended from a strap across the chest—an item packed with high-performance bounce.
So far, so focused. But then came the evening looks: baby dolls exaggerated with ruffles, florals exaggerated with embroidery, everything choking on decoration. Katrantzou has been working with the legendary Maison Lesage in Paris. It's clearly an opportunity that has thrilled her to the bone, but it's maybe been too much of a good thing. There was even something slightly sinister about the overwrought edge. Perhaps that was her deliberate nod to the eldritch power of the shoe, the receptacle of so much human desire, elevated and base. Because it was clear from the Katrantzou-clad clan today that desire is something Mary knows what to do with.