By Tania Fares
As founder of the British Fashion Council’s Fashion Trust and contributor to Vogue U.K., I am in the privileged position to spot, champion and nurture emerging designers. Six years ago, we founded the BFC Fashion Trust to provide support for designers as they take their fledgling businesses to the next level. Among the standouts are a trio of wonderfully talented women who I’ve grown particularly fond of over the years. All three—Mary Katrantzou, Roksanda Illincic and Emilia Wickstead—traveled from distant corners of the world to study fashion design at London’s venerable Central Saint Martins, then stayed in England’s capital city to launch their businesses and establish themselves as leaders on the international fashion scene. Here, highlights from their Spring/Summer 2018 ready-to-wear collections.
Renowned for her unrivaled expertise in digital printing, Mary Katrantzou is the subject of “Mary, Queen of Prints,” a retrospective exhibit celebrating her 10th anniversary, currently on view at the Dallas Contemporary (through March 18).
Originally from Greece, Katrantzou began her cross-disciplinary approach to fashion while studying architecture at the Rhode Island School of Design before earning a master’s degree in textile design and fashion in London. Her 2008 graduation show at Central Saint Martins featured trompe l’oeil prints of oversized jewelry on jersey-bonded dresses. Shortly after launching her label, she secured 15 international stockists including Colette and Joyce.
Katrantzou’s innovative fabrics continues to evolve. Her experimentation with digital printing has led to an exploration of three-dimensional form as she works with knit and lace. Her latest collection for SS18 takes inspiration from childhood pastimes and revels in the notion that an innocent imagination has no limits. The result is high-end couture featuring flamboyant sequined textiles, blown-up silhouettes and laser-cut kitten heels that look like they are made of jelly. Everything is wildly colorful, evoking a sense of joy.
Available globally at retailers in nine countries including in Browns, Harrods and Harvey Nichols in London; Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue in the U.S.; and online at marykatrantzou.com, net-a-porter.com and ModaOperandi.com
Roksanda Illincic made her debut during London Fashion Week in 2005, and spent the past 12 years growing her label, ROKSANDA, into a world-renowned brand with four annual ready-to-wear collections, plus jewelry, bags and a five-year-old children’s wear line, Blossom. Originally from Serbia, Illincic studied architecture and applied arts at the University of Belgrade prior to her education in London. Modernist design is her primary inspiration, and it shows up in her structured silhouettes, bold colors and architectural textures.
In response to the visual saturation of our digital era, Illincic’s SS18 collection displays a certain rawness, with natural imperfections in the craftsmanship. Surprising splashes of white and earth tones mingle with her signature vibrant hues on softer, more fluid silhouettes. Sensual silk maxi dresses, shirts with ballooning sleeves and cool trouser suits are perfect for a confident woman unafraid to make a statement.
Available globally at retailers in 40 countries including the flagship Roksanda boutique in London, Browns, Harrods and Harvey Nichols; select Nordstrom and Saks Fifth Avenue, Julianne in Montecito and Stanley Korshak in Dallas; and online at net-a-porter.com and ModaOperandi.com
The daughter of a dressmaker, New Zealand-born Emilia Wickstead moved to London to study fashion design and marketing. After graduation, she worked for Giorgio Armani, Proenza Schouler and Narciso Rodriguez, as well as at Vogue in New York. Upon her return to London in 2008, she established her own label, opened a made-to-measure atelier and started a retail business. Her London Fashion Week debut came with her SS12 ready-to-wear collection. Wickstead’s understated glamour and fresh sophistication are deeply ingrained in what she calls her “classic with a twist” approach. The darling of London’s elite, she now counts Gwyneth Paltrow, Diane Kruger and the Duchess of Cambridge among her fans.
Wickstead’s SS18 Collection was inspired by the 1920s-style glamour of the legendary Cotton Club, the prohibition-era Harlem nightclub where sophisticates enjoyed performances by the best jazz musicians of the day. The signature Wickstead nipped waists and breezy gowns are still present, joined by translucent off-the-shoulder dresses, low-slung trousers and ample swooshing skirts that reflect a newfound sense of movement and ease.
Available at retailers in 10 countries including the flagship Emilia Wickstead boutique, Browns, Harrods and Matches Fashion in London; Five Story New York; and online at net-a-porter.com and ModaOperandi.com, and coming soon to emiliawickstead.com