Mary Katrantzou rejigs collection timing, commercial approach
In 10 years, Mary Katrantzou has succeeded in carving a place for herself in the luxury designer market. The Greek designer launched her eponymous women’s ready-to-wear label in 2008 in London, where she is based and where she will show on Saturday, February 16.
Katrantzou has reasons to be happy about the label’s progress, and can look forward to the future with optimism. The label’s tenth anniversary, celebrated with a series of events last year, gave Katrantzou the opportunity to assess its development and rethink its organisation.
“2018 has been a very intense year. We staged a retrospective at the Dallas Contemporary art museum in Texas, an anniversary show in September and designed a mini-collection for Victoria's Secret. It was also the chance to hit pause and consolidate all that has been achieved in these ten years with all our projects and collaborations,” said Serge Carreira, who is charge of the label, speaking to FashionNetwork.com.
Mary Katrantzou moved to London aged 19, to study at Central Saint Martins. She launched her eponymous label soon after she graduated, and quickly caught the fashion world’s eye with a style blending art and technology, featuring unique textures, innovative decorations and colourful printed motifs. Katrantzou’s first collection was showcased by Parisian concept store Colette, and in 2011 she won the emerging talent prize at the British Fashion Awards. As a young designer label, Mary Katrantzou skilfully navigated the ‘one-season wonder’ phase, and in time it won over a loyal clientèle.
The label is distributed via its own e-shop, launched four years ago, and about 70 quality multibrand retailers and department stores worldwide, from Le Bon Marché in Paris to Harrods in London and Joyce in Hong Kong.
“We are lucky to have a well-established set of clients, strong, consistent and appropriate to us. The challenge is to be able to forge a more in-depth relationship with them. To optimise our performance, we have therefore introduced a series of trunk shows and pop-up initiatives in department stores,” said Carreira.
In addition, Mary Katrantzou has its own private customers, including celebrities like Kylie and Kendall Jenner and Cate Blanchett, to name but a few. It has notably attracted a number of women who are active in the culture and creativity sectors.
In January 2018, Chinese businesswoman Wendy Yu, a personal friend of Katrantzou, acquired a minority stake in the British label via her Yu Capital investment fund, to help Mary Katrantzou accelerate its expansion in Asia. The label’s main markets are currently the UK and the USA.
How will Mary Katrantzou keep this momentum going?
“This year, we took the opportunity to change our commercial approach, and we now introduce only one collection per season, splitting it up in three delivery batches. This allows us to stagger production more efficiently by delivering in November, January-February and April-May, July and August. Buyers are quite happy and they are with us on this,” said Carreira.
Previously, 80% of sales were made with the pre-collection and the remaining 20% after the show, the focal point of the label's entire communication effort. The new system, introduced with the Spring/Summer 2019 collection, notably relieves the pressure usually caused by having to produce at very short notice. “All of a sudden, most of the development work for the show is made in advance, enabling us to create something extraordinary for the show, and also sales-wise,” concluded Carreira.
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