Maria Pogue Blog

NOT ONLY ABOUT FASHION

Mary Katrantzou for Longchamp

For Spring 2012, Longchamp unveils a creative collaboration with one of fashion’s hottest new names. Mary Katrantzou, the Greek-born, London- based designer, has been an insider icon ever since her dazzling digital prints opened the Central Saint Martins graduate show in 2008. A series of spectacular collections – none more so than her Autumn/Winter 2011 show inspired by Ming vases and Fabergé eggs – have established Mary Katrantzou as one of the must-sees of London Fashion Week. She now brings her unique creative vision to Longchamp with two special-edition tote bags and an exclusive print for the legendary Le Pliage® line.

For the two totes, Mary Katrantzou created her own inspired and individual interpretation of the theme “When East meets West”, drawing on an extraordinary array of references, from Asian temples and flower parades, through dragons and lanterns, to the architecture of Carnegie Hall. The larger tote places at its centre the sculptural staircase designed by Thomas Heatherwick for Longchamp’s La Maison Unique store in New York, extending its sinuous steps into trompe-l’œil straps, which themselves are prolonged by the leather handles of the bag. The staircase, chosen by Mary Katrantzou as a symbol of modern, Westernized architecture, is imagined as if in an aquarium and surrounded by a profusion of Eastern images – brightly coloured orchids, serpentine dragons, corals and a fan like the sun’s rays – to create the exuberant yet perfectly controlled print collage that is the designer’s trademark.

For the second, smaller tote, Mary Katrantzou took as her starting point a temple adorned with lanterns and flowers, creating a fresh, airy motif that miraculously merges with the monumental interior of New York’s Carnegie Hall. Brown calfskin handles and brushed gold hardware complement the beauty of the prints and echo the bags’ trompe-l’œil detailing.

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