Mary Katrantzou and Pablo Bernstein at ICA

As technology faltered and the images organised to illustrate the discussion between Prof. Louise Wilson and acclaimed designer Mary Katrantzou refused to project onto screen, Wilson’s witty recommendation was ‘to not rely on technology’ and stressed instead the importance of skills. It quickly became clear as Mary talked passionately about her career and recent collaboration with Pablo Bronstein that the images were not as important as her impeccable devotion to her skill in print and design.

Mary’s exceptional reputation has been acquired through her ability to produce unique visual imagery and prints that stand-alone as ‘surrealist master pieces;’ resulting in fresh, stripped back designs. It is a lengthy process she is required to undertake using computer graphic software, which she was keen to stress is not a ‘simple option’ to pursue. The mouse is simply her paintbrush equivalent and through this technique she creates her iconic, 3D hyperrealist images. Throughout the entire process Mary consistently considers the female form, concluding that her ‘picture perfect prints still need a woman.’

In juxtaposition, Pablo Bronstein’s work is created by hand, yet both artists work in an equally meticulous fashion. As Mary’s SS 2011 collection demonstrated, inspiration is taken directly from interiors; thus her collaboration with Pablo and his fascination with architecture seemed like the perfect unification.  Pablo communicates his affiliation with architecture through performance; this combined with Mary’s vision presents elements of art and design, subverting into fashion and then even further, into performance. When asked, ‘does this feeling of performance interest you?’ Mary eagerly replied, ‘yes!’ explaining that the ‘feeling and aesthetic you create around the clothes is a performance within itself.’

When Pablo desired the model to feel ‘robust, constrained or vulnerable’ Mary would work to reflect this through the clothing, reiterating that this sense of performance is potent within fashion shows as she purposefully positions her models to enter from opposing directions; allowing the eye to visualise various magnitudes of colour at different times.

When asked, ‘what are your hopes for the future as a young designer?’ Mary’s immediate answer was simply ‘to survive.’ From a designer that is continuously pushing her creative skill set and has already expanded from print to jewellery, there is no doubt that Mary Katrantzou is at the top of her game.

Sarah Packer

Image: ©All rights reserved by icapressoffice

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