Karen Mabon: The Collectors

Karen Mabon‘s designs have always benefited from a “more is more” aesthetic.  From full blown fairytales told across hand rolled Italian silk to captured moments from backstage at beauty pageants on tea dresses, Mabon’s approach to her work has a delightful Where’s Wally feel to it. It’s this maximalist approach that sees Mabon at her strongest, and for her latest collection “The Collectors” she really leans in to it. It’s a dreamy mix of vintage kitsch and mythical romanticism.


“The Collectors”  mixes repeated motifs with car boot sale treasures. Highlights include rosettes, blue toned ceramics and vintage cycling chic.  The true stand out for me is Today Is Your Lucky day which mixes symbols of both good and bad luck with a touch of the occult. It’s a dreamy mix of black cats, lady bugs and fortune tellers and I can’t tell if I want to wear it or hang it on my wall. Definitely both.  This is Mabon at her best – story telling through silk.

Karen Mabon’s collections continue a love affair with curiosities, with a magpie approach to where she finds her inspiration. It’s endlessly eclectic with nods to the weird and witchy to country fairs to your Grandmother’s attic. Small touches woven throughout her illustrations are instantly recognisable because they are so grounded in the day to day and in Mabon’s hands made magical.  It’s those little flourishes like the floral designs on the offbeat ceramics to individual cyclists having different outfits that make Mabons’ designs so brilliant, and yes collectable.

As always, Mabon has created a collection that finds beauty in the mundane and not so much transforming it in to something spectacular as much as showing how incredible the world really is. Mabon has frequently straddled the line of high fantasy surrealism and the every day and her gift is creating snippets of worlds where fortune tellers are part of the every day and oddball ceramics are fantastical.

Photography: David N Anderson

Stylish: Laura Macintosh

Make up: Jak Morgan

Model: Katy Bailey


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