Though Katrantzou draws from her Greek heritage in patterns derived from Minoan art or in references to the Greek drachma, her canvas is global and promiscuously time-tripping, nodding to the 1940 Disney film in her 2017 collection “A Fantasia,” but also to paint-by-numbers, Legos, film noir and the Bauhaus. With their explosions of flowers and green lawns, other designs suggest formal French gardens populated with outrageously garish daisies and pansies that float like psychedelic apparitions, on a dark background. Katrantzou studied architecture at the Rhode Island School of Design and then fashion at London’s Central Saint Martins. Her garments reflect a taste for elaborate, architectural constructions paired with an art student and citizen of the world’s expansive view of the past and future.
The digital prints that define her clothes are often over-the-top spectacles of living large, printed with images of diamonds and crystal chandeliers, perfume bottles and dollar signs. In “Rooms” from Katrantzou’s Spring/Summer 2011 collection, a silk blouse printed with an image of the interior of a lavish home is paired with an embroidered velvet skirt with a bustle-like shape modeled on a lampshade. Rather than her original career path to design literal spaces, Katrantzou has created wearable ones. Statement necklaces look like luxury car hood ornaments, skirts drip curtains of beads and embellishment becomes play in Katrantzou’s whimsical designs. A series of clear, inflatable PVC bolero jackets (Katrantzou has a nostalgic, child’s eye affection for the fun of foul-weather wear) come filled with baubles and sparkles like a gumball machine of prizes.
Greek fashion designer Mary Katrantzou is the subject of the SCAD FASH show “KALEIDOSCOPE KATRANTZOU: Mary Katrantzou, 10 Years in Fashion,” featuring her Fall/Winter 2012 collection of digital prints on silk and velvet burnout. Contributed by SCAD
A seemingly democratic and quotidian spirit infuses other works, as if to counterbalance all that wild style opulence. Key dresses in the “Ordinary Objects” Fall/Winter 2012 collection come embellished with pencils and prints feature trompe l’oeil typewriter necklines. Those pieces conjure up a world of work that seems absurdly, purposefully opposed to the world of galas, celebrity and big money in other garments. But even in her willingness to play the field, designing collections for fast fashion giant Topshop one year and then luxury handbags for Longchamp the next, Katrantzou delivers a distinctly modern, savvy and interesting approach.
“KALEIDOSCOPE KATRANTZOU: Mary Katrantzou, 10 Years in Fashion,”
Through Sept. 22. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesdays-Wednesdays and Fridays-Saturdays; 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Thursdays; noon-5 p.m. Sundays. Closed Labor Day. $10 general admission; $8, seniors and military (all active-duty military personnel and their families have free museum admission through Labor Day); $20, family (three or more); $5, college students with ID and SCAD alumni; free, children under 14 and SCAD students/faculty/staff. SCAD FASH, 1600 Peachtree St. NW, Atlanta. 404-253-3132, scadfash.org
Bottom line: Off the hook creativity makes this exhibition of fashion designer Mary Katrantzou’s work a visual treat.