Mary Katrantzou was born in Athens in 1983, to an interior designer mother and an entrepreneur father. She moved to America for a BA in Architecture at the Rhode Island school of design, before transferring to Central Saint Martins to complete her BA degree in textile design. Graduating from her BA in 2005, Katrantzou shifted her direction from textile design to womenswear with a focus on print. She then went on to graduate in MA fashion from Central Saint Martins with distinction.
Katrantzou’s graduating show in 2008 mapped out her signature style. It was themed around trompe l’oeil prints of oversized jewellery featured on jersey-bonded dresses. Mary Katrantzou’s first ready-to-wear collection debuted at London Fashion Week in spring/summer 2009, with the support of the BFC and the New Gen Scheme. Despite a small collection of nine dresses, Katrantzou picked up 15 prestigious stockists including Browns, Joyce and Colette. The designer achieved show status the following season, in Autumn Winter 2009. She now boasts over 250 stockists in 55 countries ranging from Joyce and Colette to Selfridges and Barneys.
Mary’s earlier collections revolved around an icon of luxury, an object from art or design that a woman would not be able to wear if it were real. These seasons saw collections inspired by vintage perfume bottles, the interiors of old issues of architectural digest, objects of Art, postage stamps all while keeping the printed image central to her aesthetic. As her aesthetic has developed and her brand, grown, recent seasons have redefined her signature, focusing more on surface design and textiles, expanding her range beyond digital print while still keeping a theme central to her ideas.
Autumn/Winter 2014 prompted a real shift in direction and was her first step away from print, taking her experiments with fabric development and textile innovation to a more refined level, incorporating colour and pattern into her designs through other mediums and referencing print and colour instead through embroidery and fabric construction including beautifully crafted Swiss lace, hand woven jacquards and embroidery.
Katrantzou has received various awards throughout her career. In 2010 Mary was awarded the prestigious Swiss Textiles Award. In November 2011 Mary was awarded the British Fashion Award for Emerging Talent: Womenswear and in February 2012 was awarded Young Designer of the Year at the Elle Style Awards. She was also nominated alongside Stella McCartney and Christopher Kane for Designer of the Year at the British Fashion Awards in 2013. This year, Mary picked up the Designer Fashion Fund awarded by British Vogue and The British Fashion Council.