Before she collaborated with Victoria's Secret, Mary Katrantzou had never dreamed of creating an intimates line, but that didn't stop the London-based designer's joyous range stealing the spotlight at the lingerie giant's 2018 runway show.
Injecting her Victoria's Secret range with the bold print and colour that has come to define her eponymous label, Katrantzou took her own cues from the experience, with underwear now no longer such a foreign endeavour for the designer, not least because of the power it possesses to make women feel great.
Here, we chat to Katrantzou about collaborating with Victoria's Secret.
What inspired you to team up with Victoria’s Secret?
“When they first approached me, it was so unexpected and intriguing, I’d never dreamt of doing this sort of collaboration, but sometimes the best collaborations come unexpectedly. What I usually design goes on top of underwear, so it’s a completely different world, and I love that. I loved that I would be working really closely with women’s bodies and designing something that empowers [women] to feel confident and comfortable.”
Your eponymous label is renowned for its bold use of print—how did you decide on the motifs used in the Victoria's Secret range?
“I looked at the heritage of my own brand, and I looked at the heritage of Victoria’s Secret, and I felt that it had to be something feminine, it had to be playful, and it had to be positive. So I chose something as universally positive and loved as a floral motif, and really worked in the Victoria’s Secret stripes and colours."
You’ve said that within the range there’s a nod to silhouettes that you’ve developed in your past collections—can you give examples of how this comes through?
“Well, we did a collection on cowboys and princesses [that included] these multi-layer tulle dresses that we brought back for Victoria's Secret, because they are almost negligee like. We also took some of the structure I’ve used in the past in my lampshade skirts and [created] embellished chandelier-looking pieces.”
What’s your favourite piece from the new collection?
“So difficult to say! I like the underwire bra-top with the open back. I love the jumpsuits, I love the bralettes, I love the dialogue when you see all the different pieces together.”
What did you learn about designing lingerie?
“Because I’ve never done underwear before, it’s very infrequent that I have the opportunity to fit a woman so close to her body, where the fit needs to be perfect. Technically, the expertise that is needed to get that perfect fit is beyond what we’ve done before."
Is lingerie design something you’d be interested in exploring further in the future?
“I am now, but I didn’t think so before."
Why is that?
“I’d never looked into the relationship that a woman has with her underwear and realised that it’s such an intimate relationship. It shapes the body, it supports you, it gives you a feeling of confidence. I also realised that as a women who [personally] wears a lot of black, I would more easily entertain wearing something funky underneath, because it’s playful, it's fun, but it’s something only you know and see. And I think wearing something that no one else knows about is quite mood lifting and empowering. And I like that, but had never thought about it before collaborating with Victoria's Secret."
Last question—will we see you in Australia anytime soon?
"I hope so. We haven’t come since 2012, so we’re definitely due a visit! Maybe in 2019."