Mary Katrantzou’s Trip To The Museum
News that Mary Katrantzou’s work can now be seen at London’s Institute of Contemporary Arts shouldn’t surprise those familiar with her designs, which often seem to skirt the world of fine art as much as fashion. (“We did have some clients that bought scarves from the Spring ’11 collection to frame and hang on their walls,” she confided.) But there are no framed scarves in the ICA’s new Pablo Bronstein exhibition of drawings, architectural moldings, and performance, Sketches for Regency Living. The Argentine-born, London-based artist worked with Katrantzou on a series of costumes for the dancers that perform two choreographed pieces in the museum. The two were introduced by curator Matt Williams, who suggested that they meet since, Katrantzou explained, “from a creative point of view, we share a passion for architectural lines and a love of classicism.” (Her breakthrough collection, for Spring ’11, used digital prints of lavish home interiors.)
“I wasn’t familiar with her work previously, but as soon I walked into her studio, I knew that she would be perfect to collaborate with,” Bronstein said. “There are such diversities of sources, so many references in her work that I knew that there would be enough common ground for us to work together. We talked about Regency fashion, a sense of decadence for the evening dress, a sense of vulnerability and delicacy and wistfulness.”
The result is two costumes, inspired by Bronstein’s Horological Promenade and Drapes in the William Kent Style, for the morning and afternoon dance performances. For the former, the designer created a peplum-accented jacket and pants in a gold clock print; for the latter, a fluid, draped gown with a print that suggests, Katrantzou says, “a sense of voyeurism through the window that frames the dancer’s torso.”
“To be honest, I wasn’t sure that it was going to work until we did the final dress rehearsal because of the technical difficulty of the dancers’ movements and the fact that the costumes are very complicated,” Bronstein admitted. “[But] once the technical issues were sorted out, the results were amazing.” As for Mary, she’s on to new challenges—like the Spring ’12 collection, for one. “I cannot yet reveal too much,” she told Style.com, “other than it will be colorful and there will be prints, that’s for sure.”
Pablo Bronstein: Sketches for Regency Living runs through September 25 at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London, www.ica.org.uk.