EXCLUSIVE: Mary Katrantzou’s Tips For Mastering Party Dressing…

The British Fashion Award nominee certainly knows a thing or two about dressing for cocktail hour...

Responsible for our six-year love-in with digital prints and serious embellishments, Mary Katrantzou is renowned for her statement cocktail dresses which go heavy on the detail.

Since earning the admiration of the fashion pack, she’s become a firm favourite among the A-list and is responsible for many a stand-out red carpet look. So who better to speak to about perfecting the art of party dressing?

We caught up with the British Fashion Award nominee to talk career highlights, styling prints and red carpet dressing…

What have been your highlights of the year and what’s next for you?
For AW14 I made a conscious decision to pull my work away from print and concentrate on developments and silhouette. I’ve been known for my work with digital prints and precision engineering but it just felt right to evolve that language and take my work to a more mature level. I’m more excited when I’m working with something that makes me feel more uncomfortable! On that note, the collection we’ve just launched with adidas Originals has been a real learning curve for me. I’ve never worked with sportswear or designed for such a huge market so it’s been really interesting and I’m so pleased with the end result.

You were nominated for the Red Carpet award at the British Fashion Awards, who have been your red carpet highlights?
It’s an honour to see VIPs and customers alike in my designs. Sarah Jessica Parker wore AW14 to the NYC ballet fall gala in September and she looked phenomenal, it was a really special moment for me as it was the first time I’d ever designed costumes and for her to wear my design as one of the ballets ambassadors was really amazing.

Is there anyone you’d love to see in your designs, past or present?
Hedy Lamarr – a classic Hollywood star with brains as well as beauty!

What inspires you and your designs?
Everything. From a great film to a postage stamp to a butchers apron! My collections are thematic but I try not to restrict myself with a label at the beginning; I let them evolve and then explore how we can filter ideas through a more modern, innovative medium.

What’s the secret to perfecting a red carpet-worthy party look?
Wear something you feel comfortable in and wear it with confidence. And I am a firm believer in Coco Chanel’s theory of taking the last thing you put on before you leave the house, off!

You’re renowned for bold prints and intricate embellishments, do you have any styling tips for wearing such pieces?
The Swarovski Collective has allowed me to really be innovative and creative with our use of embellishment. We use Swarovski crystals to give the garments heightened texture and elevating the ideas we have about modern craftsmanship. The silhouettes that we use reflect that decoration and heighten the pieces to a demi-couture level. The women who wear my designs do so because it allows them to channel their personality through what they are wearing, they can stand out in a room, and the dress becomes a conversational piece, just like a piece of art hanging in someone’s home would. As for styling tips, I have seen people go maximalist with the pieces, and minimalist and a bit grungy, I think both work as long as you commit to your look! For the show I always like to have a pure and fresh beauty look as I think the clothes do the talking, the Katrantzou woman is pure and statuesque, she doesn’t need to over think her look.

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