There were many magical outfits at London Fashion Week this year, but Mary Katrantzou’s Spring 2017 collection exceeded them all. It went full-out Disney. Each outfit in her colorful collection re-imagined animated scenes from Disney’s 1940 classic, Fantasia. While Katrantzou’s beautifully executed each image she re-created, the true merit of her Fantasia fashion collection was its wearability. You could actually use these dresses and blazers for sophisticated parties and stylish evenings. When a runway line incorporates spectacle and practicality at once, it’s an achievement worth exploring. Here are the best looks from London’s Fantasia fashion show and the film scenes that inspired them.
THE MELANCHOLY CENTAUR
The reason this Fantasia fashion line succeeds so well is largely due to the way Katrantzou structures her designs. She knows precisely how to break up scenes into patterns and focus points. Here, Katrantzou uses indigo weeping willow leaves as a scale pattern that fades into its velvety maroon background. Her central figure sits on a wide square of fabric directly centered under model Roos Abels’s face. The way this iconic scene is structured parallel the shape of the suit. It has the appearance of a perfect projection permanent super-imposed. In that sense, it marries the classical past of animation and music while hinting at futuristic technology. Bravo to Katrantzou for designing a smart centaur print people will want in their wardrobes.
If you were wondering where this centaur comes in the film, it’s the gloomy girl from Fantasia’s Pastoral Symphony.
A FANTASIAN LANDSCAPE
Katrantzou also adapted her unique theme to the fashion trends of 2017. One of NYFW’s breakout hits was the transparent dress. The risqué look continued to grow last week. There were dozens of revealing mesh tops and nearly-nude gowns on London’s runways. This sparkly tulle dress acknowledges the revealing trend in a magical, Disney-esque context. Fantasy-inspired leafy decorations subtly cover model Jamie Bochert’s bare chest. Rather than a belt, a colorful Fantasian landscape extends across her waist. Yet again, the Fantasia fashion collection’s attention to structure and detail make this dress a viable style option for formal galas and even weddings.
The scene, another from the Pastoral Symphony, happens right after this centaur prince shows his lover his kingdom.
Fantasia fashion and 70s retro shouldn’t work together, but they intertwine perfectly in this beautiful dress. The sequins-lined neckline shape recalls a subtle Western chic bandana. Each object in the ornate mural is adorned with thin, beaded tassels that jingle when you walk. Even the two-tiered loop of jewels around model Mariana Zaragoza’s neck are cut like spiky Western-inspired brooches. There were plenty of hints on the London streets that retro fashion was still in style. If Mary Katrantzou is working the fabled decade into a Fantasia fashion collection, the rumors must be true. Better brace yourself for cowboy boots and chic bandanas this fall.
This dress’s image comes from the very first shot of Fantasia’s Pastoral Symphony. See the little Faun on the left?
Katrantzou is famous for her vivid prints. Her mother was an interior designer and her father trained in textile engineering, so she grew up surrounded by elaborate, colorful patterns. Despite her reputation for print work, this eye-popping design still shocked us. It’s one of her boldest looks yet. Bringing this type of 3D design back to fashion is a revolutionary step. The last time designers attempted to mix 2D and 3D patterns in popular fashion was the 1970s. These anemone-like flowers are chaotic but manageable. If you want a gala dress that will turn heads, here it is.
Katrantzou’s collection featured many floral prints all inspired by Fantasia’s signature flower scene, Waltz of the Flowers.
Some outfits in Katrantzou’s collection didn’t seem to come from the magical land of Fantasia. A few officewear tops seemed more inspired by animated fashion villains like Cruella De Vil. This hunting coat came closest to bridging the gap between Disney villains and colorful, petite centaurs. The link is Escher-like swans. Like the weeping willow leaves on Katrantzou’s Melancholy Centaur suit, these swans have a gingham-like checkerboard quality that blends one classic pattern with another.
It’s savvy collection work and there could have been more like it. The commentary is practical and easy to see, elements missing from most spectacular runways in the 2010s.
While there are no black and white swan duos in Fantasia, there are a pair of flying horses. Maybe they inspired this look.
This Fantasia fashion show was the most talked about collection at London Fashion Week. That’s huge. Maybe Disney-inspired haute couture is the next big fashion trend of 2017.