I have been spending lots of time at the London Designer Showrooms in Paris. That's because a.) they have free muffins; b.) are close to a Starbucks; and c.) are filled with some of the best talent fashion has to offer. Not necessarily in that order.
Case in point: Mary Katrantzou. I can't rave enough about her clothes - but I'll have to join an ever-expanding queue of well-wishers. I spent an hour with Katrantzou yesterday, during which time Hamish Bowles of American Vogue, Hilary Alexander of The Telegraph, and stylist Edward Enninful of i-D magazine and many many more, came in to flick through Katrantzou's kaleidoscopic prints. Mary wore some lipstick for the inevitable photo ops, but otherwise she was her usual down-to-earth self.
I was most struck, however, when watching her talk with buyers - something the press rarely gets to witness. Both Katrantzou and her tight-knit team have a great head for figures, both in reeling off the wholesale rates for her graphic little dresses, and in making those graphic little dresses a viable retail commodity. A prime example is her jaw-dropping Faberge egg frock - the one embroidered with sequins, appliqued with leather, crusted with about four thousand crystals and then embellished with three-dimensional pink flowers. Sounds like it costs about as much as a two-bedroom flat? You're probably right. Katrantzou has a printed version - drop-dead flattering, cap-sleeved and to-the-knee - that will retail in three, rather than five, figures. Now that's interesting.