Quite Contrary

Monday 17 September 2012


Report by David Hayes

Missed the two pairs of jeans in the first few looks of Mary Katrantzou’s show? You weren’t the only one. The baby blue over-printed denim chimed so perfectly with the soft pastel aquas and watery blues of the collection they were easy to miss. Really easy: they were as printed and ornamented as the rest of the stellar catwalk outing that took stamps and out-of-circulation bank notes as the starting point. “I wanted to use something that showed a progression with world history, that significantly tied in with cultures,” said Katrantzou backstage. “This is the first time I’ve done jeans,” she added, “I wanted to loosen up the collection after the restricted silhouette of the last show.”

Katrantzou is an original talent but her latest offering, using soft hues framed with the hard outline of postage stamp perforations, stark text and the snaking lines on bank notes, did confirm a trend: soft pastels toughened up with harsh black.

“I love flesh pink and soft yellow,” said Topshop Creative Director Kate Phelan. “It’s a way of merging black and white, softening everything.”

She’s not alone. Corrie Nielsen was one of many designers who majored on pastels this week, adding black as a bitter antidote. “I was inspired by Kew Gardens,” she said after the show. “It was about the whole experience of nature, flowers and mutated pastel shades. Among all the pretty flower colours at Kew was one black calla lily. I used that lily as a way to break up the sweeter pastels with one single black dress in the show.”

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