Has a more beautiful case for a Euro Exit ever been made? I doubt it, but if I was home in Greece right now I'd be getting my saved-up Drachmas out of the jars and investing them in some Mary Katrantzou stock. It's silly to look for the political in a fashion collection but it's also silly to believe it's never there. Katrantzou is a fellow Greek who doesn't need to travel back home to feel what's happening there. Was she looking through old notes, kept safe under plastic sleeves in an album? Or was the post stamp her starting point on a journey that took her, and us, places? Who knows and frankly, who cares? The pure beauty and exquisite craftsmanship of this collection stunned the mind and the senses took over. This was a GrExit of riches.
There's usually a game of sorts at Katrantzou shows where guests attempt to write down as many different images they can identify on a single garment before it disappears backstage. I spot a bird! And a plant! In a Murano pot on an Italian veranda through an open window. Etc etc. But guess what? This was the season the eye stopped marvelling at the prints and focused on the shapes and the fabrics instead. Perhaps Katrantzou has trained us with her previous collections or perhaps it's just this particular show guests being lazy and utterly inept. Whatever. There was something different about this one. Yes, the postage prints on the first part of the show ought to be marvelled at (and these being stamps there were birds indeed!) and yes, Katrantzou's feel for colour puts her in the elite fashion squad (just look at exit 3) but it was the manner in which those skirts folded onto themselves or the fact that the print on a pair of trousers responded to every part of the leg, even the back of the knee with a panel all of its own. No shortcuts here.
Katrantzou has played with volume before but here it was at its best. After two breezy billowing dresses came a third, fitted at the shoulders and pleated from the neckline, like a maypole, each pleat with a ribbon print of its own, before ending with a wide panel of white frills that felt folky and sweet. The navy blue suit that followed a few looks later is, what they call, a game changer. So sharp, so cool, so sexy! Was it the smell of money from its brocade of bank note swirls? That's when the other Katrantzou show game started. The one I like to call 'How did she do that?' Those bank note patterns turned iridescent and shimmery, the effects of crystal mesh, Swarovski-decorated using a printed glass technique. A below-the-knee column dress on Cara Delevingne was particularly exquisite as was a bandeau gown whose movement was the sartorial equivalent of someone running their thumb through a wad of fresh-from-the-vault money.
Think of this as a capitalist's wet dream at your own peril. On the contrary, it felt nostalgic, reminiscent of the old times, when mail from abroad came with some bizarre, Ministry-of-Tourism-dictated stamp licked and stuck and thumbed on an envelope. Or when a foreign bank note was an ambassador for the country itself. But these are the times we're living in, comrades, so just pick up that stamp collection album, put Bowie's 'The Man Who Sold The World' on loud and dream away. It wont cost you a penny.