Mary Katrantzou is spelling out how she’s making a transition away from digital print—by brainstorming over another, way earlier, form of printing: “The alphabet! Type-fonts!” she laughed. “I’ve been making fabrics out of them.” The walls of a spacious temporary showroom in London’s Hoxton Square were lined with her resort A to Z—a library of delightful, summery colors, surface pattern, and intricate in-jokes on lettering. “I was looking at art deco story books, Milton Glaser’s sixties fonts, and the mediaeval manuscript The Book of Kells. And then we got into the A-line, the S-bend, and the V-neck—and bags in the shape of letters, so you can carry your own initial!”
Katrantzou turned a page with her last collection—an impressive fall show which majored on long, streamlined dresses patchworked with embroidered symbols, with not a print in sight. The sequel follows through, but in a different, lighter, leggier way. Playful lettering techniques dance across flocked glitter on sheer tulle, on embossed brocades and dropped into lattice patterns. “I thought it would be good to offer an alternative to long things this time,” she says. “And we’ve worked on the prices, so they’re less ‘couture’ and far more accessible.” If you look hard, MK’s own initials might be spotted floating around in the alphabet soup, but never so noticeably that they read as a logo. She’s cleverer and more subtle than that, but still: This is a collection which underlines the fact that Mary Katrantzou is thinking about writing the next chapter for her brand.