Mary Katrantzou is one of the few designers who clearly have a signature discipline: prints. The Athens-born designer completed a BA in textile design before turning her focus on womenswear­­­ -  and you can clearly see her love for patterns and bold prints in every garment she has designed ever since. For fall/winter ’14, the 31-year old has teamed up with Adidas Originals for a capsule collection – and thereby got a first taste of the sportswear industry. Interview by Maria Hunstig

Coat dress from the Mary K. for Adidas Originals collection
Coat dress from the Mary K. for Adidas Originals collection
Being a runway fashion designer – how does it feel to suddenly design sportswear, was it difficult to win in? Do you think that sportswear is the new chic?
The Adidas family is so diverse; its got the perfect balance between providing exceptional quality performance wear and super cool street-wear. In recent years sportswear has demonstrated its presence on the catwalk but reinvented through a more luxurious medium. Sporty, relaxed silhouettes are wearable and really add to that effortlessly chic edge favored by so many. Designing sportswear has been a real learning curve for me – we’ve been able the pioneering work behind the fabric development and truly understand the science behind it.

How was your cooperation with Adidas initiated–how did you two get together?
When Adidas first approached me to work with them on a collection for Adidas Originals, I was working on my SS14 collection based around the concept of footwear. We were researching the history behind the delicate evening slipper; the masculine rivets of the brogue and finally, the most importantly, the ins and outs of the sneaker. So the timing couldn’t have been better! The idea behind the collection was the concept of micro vs macro – details are supersized and deconstructed, so when Adidas approached us to design a capsule collection, it seemed like the perfect direction to take.

What has been your inspiration behind the collection for Adidas?
For inspiration I looked at track shoes worn by Olympic medal winners from the 1970s and 80s and that became the starting point for a series of prints that re-contextualise the history of Adidas iconography. I wanted to turn these symbols on their head and introduce my own visual language that is defined by the outsoles, laces, and pop icons of the Adidas running shoe, as it has evolved through time.
When we visited the Adidas archive I was over-whelmed by their innovation in fabric and textile design and we worked together to really incorporate this into the collection. My aesthetic is built on the paradigm of print and color and the collection with Adidas really reflects this.

Outfit with super sized lacing print
Outfit with super sized lacing print
What kind of styles, prints and colors can we expect from the collaboration?
Adidas wanted us to create a collection that was bold and feminine, so we kept silhouettes taut and technical, cut closely to the body and engineered to celebrate the female form. Adidas are technical innovators when it comes to fabrications so we had a plethora of different fabrications.
A key piece is an exaggerated coat dress, constructed using neoprene panels of ultramarine and coral flashes, which creates a sharp silhouette using the brand’s iconic trefoil symbol as inspiration for the print. Another is a “go faster” a-line mini dress in textured tricot fabric, features a super sized print of sporty lacing, drawing parallels between women’s essentials of two very different eras: the sneaker and the corset. I wanted the pieces to offer a utilitarian purpose, whilst always delivering poise in a vivid colour palette and a sense of pattern.
Colours come in acidic and electric hues of orange and pink sit alongside aquatic green and deep cobalt, contrasted with shades of graphite grey and marble. You’ll find an aquamarine track jacket in polished tricot and a fitted t-shirt in printed mesh.

What do you think are the strongest trends in womenswear for the upcoming spring/summer 2015 season?
It’s always difficult to predict trends and to be honest, they don’t really come into my thought process when designing. I think textile and surface design is becoming more and more of a trend and an area which designers are experimenting more with, it’s important to me to explore different ways of fabricating the idea of an image other than just in a print. The second collection for Adidas will explore this further, so stay tuned!

Mary Katrantzou x Adidas Originals sneakers
Mary Katrantzou x Adidas Originals sneakers