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Postcards From Mary Katrantzou

Mary Katrantzou interview

Roots in Greece, home in London, studies in the US, with an innate instinct for travel, Mary Katrantzou is the ultimate global designer. Loved for her inimitable prints and vibrant hues, from postage stamps to surrealism, landscapes to symbolism, she dreams up designs inspired by far-flung corners of the world. And, with a background in architecture, it’s little wonder that structure, form and silhouette are key in her designs. We spoke with Mary about her style journey...

"When I design I always think of context, who is the wearer, what is the occasion, what is the intent."
Mary Katrantzou
How does your Greek heritage play out through your work?

Greece has an incredibly rich history. My roots are often brought into question when it comes to my collections, though it's not often that my heritage directly influences them. My aesthetic has been shaped by my culture, my sense of colour and symmetry.

I try to get back home at least twice a year. I love Spetses, it reminds me of carefree summers growing up.

You spent time studying architecture in America - what aspects of the culture and aesthetic did you take from this?

I spent two years at Rhode Island School of Design studying Architecture. America has incredible buildings to study and admire. I have always admired Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater House, Mies van der Rohe's Farnsworth House and Louis Kahn's Salk Institute for Biological Studies. I love the way these architects considered the landscape their buildings inhabited. When I design I always think of context, who is the wearer, what is the occasion, what is the intent.

Mary Katrantzou Interview
What are your key hotspots in the States and why?

In Miami, I love Wynwood as an area. Abandoned warehouses are occupied by artists, restaurants, and cafés. There is also a mecca of the already present graffiti. Brunch at Cecconis in Miami's Soho House is also a must. In LA, watching the sunset at the Griffith Observatory is pretty special and I recently discovered the Kayne Griffin Corcoran gallery, the only gallery designed by artist James Turrell. I love staying at the Mercer in New York - it's perfect for meetings and excellent service.

What are your places of inspiration in London?

London is a real hub of energy and creativity and plays host to some fantastic designers. London has the perfect balance between old and new, from the Victoria and Albert museum through to the modern Serpentine Sackler gallery - it's an inspiring place to live and work. I love the mix of people - it's always a source of inspiration for my work.

Where else in the world do you feel a sense of home?

Paris is a beautiful city and I spend a lot of time there over the year as it's where we take our collections to market. Nothing quite beats the buzz of being there during Fashion Week. It's always a great place to catch up with people and I love getting to meet with all our stockists.

From concept to catwalk what's your design process?

My collections start off with visual imagery that later helps define our mood and intention. We create vast moodboards and rework and refine them until we've created our own interpretation. Inspiration can come from anywhere, it's important to allow yourself that freedom to let ideas evolve.

  • Mary Katrantzou
  • Mary Katrantzou
  • "Inspiration can be from anywhere, it's important to allow yourself freedom to let ideas evolve..."
What’s next in Mary’s world?

I would love to curate a space where design, art and expression all come together to reflect my creative influences and aesthetic and how they influence my designs.