​10 things you need to know about mary benson

She's a Westminster graduate, holographic genius and one third of the Fashion East triptych.

by Felicity Kinsella
Feb 18 2015, 5:00pm

Mary Benson saw out student life with a bang last year when she graduated from Westminster's Fashion Design BA. Conjuring up ball gown-clad princesses that would make Sleeping Beauty turn in her bed, headpieces that Edward Scissorhands would be proud of, and illustrations from the darkest parts of her imagination, Mary's holographic, 70s inspired graduate collection caught the eye of Fashion East director, Lulu Kennedy and landed her a spot in the Topshop sponsored initiative, alongside Ed Marler and fellow newbie Caitlin Price. Following in the footsteps of Westminster alumni Ashley Williams, Claire Barrow, Louise Alsop and Liam Hodges, the Leeds-born, London-based 24-year-old finds her inspiration in stained glass windows, the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and art nouveau motifs, we can't wait to see what treasures she magics up this London Fashion Week. Here's 10 things about Mary…

1. Mary fancies herself a dreamer. She describes her clothes as...
"Dreamy, ladylike, charming, cheeky and gorgeous."

2. Her spring/summer 15 collection is one super sexy ABBA-fuelled acid trip.
"I really love Boney M and Abba so it came as a natural thing to create this collection of 70s inspired, sexy, denim two-piece outfits. I love the hilarious ABBA music videos and wanted to create his and hers, androgynous, double denim matching sets that are figure hugging and sexy! The print was inspired by the The Beatles' Yellow Submarine animation, typical late 60s psychedelic illustration with colorful glittery acid trip clouds on sleeves and hems."

3. The most useful piece of advice that fashion fairy godmother Lulu Kennedy gave Mary was...
"Well I love to draw, particularly odd faces, eyeballs, hybrid funny animals... and this sometimes creeps into my prints and they can end up looking quite dark. Lulu advised me to continue to keep doing my prints in my gorgeous fun way like the spring/summer 15 collection, and not make them too weird and creepy. Which is really great advice because I can get carried away. I think my prints will always have a bit of an oddness to them but in a vague way where you can't quite tell why it's odd."

4. If you don't sleep, you can't dream! Mary doesn't stay up 'til silly o'clock the night before a deadline.
"I'm quite decisive so I don't like to ponder over things for hours, I like to spend most of my time between collections sampling and drawing loads. I draw my vivid dreams a lot which are useful for my prints. I eventually figure out an idea that I love, then go with it. I don't think it's good to have too many sleepless nights and if you have a good team round you, then you can have fun with it, get things done and then go to bed. Sleep is good for a creative mind!"

5. She knows when it's time to ghost…
"Being a Northerner I can drink like a fish but I don't really enjoy staying out past 3 really. I'm one of those annoying people who will sneak off at 1am to go home to bed when I've had enough!"

6. The Fanning sisters are her dream clients.
"I really love Elle and Dakota Fanning. I think they are really classy and have such different vibes from each other. I would love to dress them in a shoot together."

7. Her fave designers are fun, tongue in cheek, colourful and glam.
"I love Moschino and Versace and I will always love Zandra Rhodes especially for her drawings, inspiration and lifestyle."

8. Mary's been banned from playing her music in the studio.
"I hate to be a broken record but I have to admit I play a lot of ABBA, T-Rex, Jethro Tull and Fleetwood Mac. It's what I grew up with and it's comforting I guess when I'm feeling the pressure of making a collection. We have a laugh about it though because we take it in turns to play our music as everyone gets so sick of me playing the same thing every day. I have been actually banned from playing Temples."

9. She likes to watch films while she works.
"I watched Beauty and the Beast last night while I was working. I love Billy Elliot because it's a really inspiring story and the soundtrack is amazing! But my all time favorite is Pride and Prejudice for when I'm working I know it off by heart and again, amazing soundtrack."

10. Mary's fall/winter 15 collection sounds like the dream…
"It's my surrealist Dali-Mary dream world printed on to flattering, ladylike shapes, mixed with sexy cool androgynous pieces."


Photography Emily Rose England

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Mary Benson
felicity kinsella
fall/winter 15