Combining the beauty of coral reefs, artificial, industrial fabrication, and flowers (which were also budding at Christopher Kane, Erdem, and Temperley, among others), print-master Mary Katrantzou cited “Nature vs. Nurture” as the inspiration behind her vivid spring 2012 collection. “I’ve never explored nature before, and I didn’t want to do another collection that’s based on some kind of design discipline,” explained Katrantzou, who, with a background in interior design, looked to the interiors of Helmut Newton photographs, as well those of quirky hotels, for inspiration in previous seasons. “My approach was to look at flower fields and coral reefs in the form of repetition, to the point where they just become pixels, rather than organic elements. It was about trying to merge the natural and industrial worlds and doing something that’s decoratively beautiful, but also to find beauty in how they interact,” she added backstage.
Her dueling influences resulted in collection of sharp suits, tailored dresses with dramatic trains, and bouncing, structured cocktail frocks, all of which were printed with abstracted digital flowers, fish and coral, or calculated, memorizing rows of carnations in radio-active colors. A bed of cherry, fuchsia, and canary carnations that stretched the length of the runway enhanced the techno-effect, as did the models’ electric blue and violet lips.
But her foray into the natural wasn’t Katrantzou’s only first this season. Her finale gown, a swirling asymmetrical sculpture of chrome tin cans and pink, yellow, and blue Swarovski crystals made to look like flowers, marked the print-designer’s first step into a textural third dimension. “I made the gown as a statement piece that brings [nature and nurture] together. I didn’t want it to be a wearable dress,” said the designer of her intergalactic last look. Wearable it’s not, but, dancing up and down the hand-finished dress in a swirling whirlwind, Katrantzou’s combination of junkyard cans and Swarovski blooms made for a harmonious match.