Of all London's print purveyors, Mary Katrantzou is arguably the most talented, certainly one of the most innovative and possibly the most successful - how many designers could boast almost a hundred stockists barely a season out of college? For this season, Katrantzou sought to move her look forwards, but not too far. Last season perfume bottles inspired the graphic treatments: this season Murano and Venini glass influences not only the prints, but the actual forms of the dresses. A slight drape emulated the hand-crafted texture of blown vessels, while a clam-shell scallop inspired, it seems, by signature Murano bowls animated the bodices of the multihued pieces. The prints themselves took a twist for the organic and asymmetric, abstracting across the body in the poppy, peppy palette of a Jeff Koons, contrasting numerous vibrant shades simultaneously in a mesmerising kaleidoscope of colour. Despite the departures into dressmaking dramatics (which, if truth be told, were hit and miss at the best of times), it was the simple sheaths that worked best - providing a pure canvas for Katrantzou's aesthetic play, accented with heavy blown glass jewellery and metallic multicoloured heels. Although electric in colour and perfectly executed, there was a frustrating sense that Katrantzou was holding back and playing it safe with this collection. Maybe sales were on her mind - in this economy, you'd have to be an idiot to disregard the bottom line entirely - and a season fallow is fine. Next time, it would be far more exciting to see Katrantzou really stretch her considerable creative muscle.
Although electric in colour and perfectly executed, there was a frustrating sense that Katrantzou was holding back and playing it safe with this collection.