Designer Desire

The designer, Mary Katrantzou, fitting a model in one of her designs

Keira Knightley at the 2011 Venice Film Festival wearing Mary Katrantzou

I’ve never been much of a believer in the seemingly mythical idea of “love at first sight,” but if I did, I’d cite Mary Katrantzou as my potential soul-mate. Last fall, the Athens-born, London-based designer ‘had me at hello’ when I spotted Keira Knightley’s arrival at the Venice Film Festival sporting one of Katrantzou’s designs from her Autumn/Winter 2011 collection. The creation was everything I’ve ever dreamed of in a dress – rich color, a bold print, and a jaw-dropping, figure-flattering silhouette.

The minute Knightley docked and stepped off that chic Venetian boat, I knew I wanted more. I immediately googled the designer and started perusing her collections, hoping that this new obsession wouldn’t just be the equivalent of a one-night stand. Thank GAWD. Her collections are fabulous – stocked with pieces like the one seen on Keira Knightley, but in various shapes, prints, colors, and textures. Her style is reminiscent of Alexander McQueen circa his brilliant and epic Spring 2010 Ready-to-Wear collection. In fact, this may have been the reason why I fell in love with Katrantzou so quickly!

The 29-year-old designer has already won the ‘Emerging Talent Award’ at the 2011 British Fashion Awards, and I refer to her as the reigning Queen of Prints. She designed a collection for the ever-popular British retailer, TopShop, earlier this year, and I think it’s safe to say her popularity won’t be diminishing anytime soon.

As for me, I may not be able to afford Mary Katrantzou’s thousand-dollar designs, but I’ve spotted some gorgeous frocks with a Kartrantzou-meets-McQueen vibe – and a more attractive price tag – on the website of my all-time favorite London store, Miss Selfridge!

Love at first sight? Possibly. A match made in heaven? Definitely.

Waterprint Keyhole Dress, Miss Selfridge, $80

Geo Floral Bodycon Dress, Miss Selfridge, $57

DESIGNED BY Tropical Shift Dress, Miss Selfridge, $90