by Omi | Lotus Ladegaard | Olivia Moreau
Athens Fashion week (or AXDW) each cycle exposes foreign press to designers who are coming through in an industry full of creativity but not enough exposure. So it is paramount that organizations like AXDW provides the foundation for newer/less established designers to push the envelope forward. And with the help of creative partners like Lufthansa, they have made it possible for a lot of designers to show their work and push it into the global market. And along with established designers having newer designers within a well-constructed fashion week is always a plus. This cycle the shows that stood out were also shows that had wide functionality and couture appeal.
One of the most talked about shows during this cycle among people who actually are in the industry was Lefkon, which eventually won the New Designer Award. Beyond the allure of Vassilis Zoulias (the Godfather of Greek Fashion), the shiny exterior of Mi-Ro (darling of Native Greek celebrities) and the Avant Guard charm of Yiorgos Eleftheriades, Greek industry has been static due to the economic climate. So it is extraordinary to find such hustle and poise coming out of a market that was completely decimated due to the economic collapse. The greek market is recovering and they have the fashion to show for it.
Lefkon is the brainchild of designer Irini-Louisa Andrikopoulou. The brand was launched as a private collection in 2015 and stood out with a new take on minimalism, subtle quiet luxury, and a balance of sophistication and innovation. Each of her patterns is handmade and perfected by her which add an element of bespoke luxury to her designs as well as a bit of levity and sophistication. Inspired by architecture, art, and strong female role models, she has created distinctive collections that stand out and leave an impression that lasts with its minimalist couture aesthetics and its contemporary touch. Lefkon might be a relative newcomer, but the brand is bound to excite the global world of fashion and push greek fashion where it needs to be.
Lefkon’s Capsule Collection is everything we have come to expect from the brand; minimalistic, modern, airy, tailored and oozing of sophistication. For the Capsule Collection, models were styled easy and fresh with summer hair and flat sandals and a woven bag of rushes. It has tons of editorial appeal and it is bound to excite fashion editors around the world. Five or Six looks might prove too little for some designers to showcase their point of view, but five looks were all Irini-Louisa Andrikopoulou needed. Her Capsule Collection unassumingly demonstrates her talents for design, her aesthetics and her point of view.
The colour palette was kept in simple neutral earth tones such as brown, white and a metallic grey. A brown fitted dress with cap sleeves and an open Viennese pleat opened the show. It would be easy to dress it up or down and thus will fit into most wardrobes. For her second look, she presented a white A-line shirt dress with high front slit, it was fresh and contemporary. Although styled with waistband, it would easily be styled in empire as well. With its feminine charm, it will undoubtedly win over new territory amongst the young fashionistas although it is sophisticated enough for women of all ages.
A grey tea length fitted dress with cap sleeves was up next; at first glance, it came off as a little dull, however, upon another look the intricate and deliberate seaming made it interesting and contemporary and that's where Lefkon's true charm remains...in details. Another take on a white shirt dress followed with cap sleeves, pockets, and an open Viennese front pleat. Perhaps a longer dress than a tea-length would have done even better, but nevertheless, it felt fresh, young and modern. For her last look, the Greek designer chose separates; a shirt with big white short sleeves and high waisted brown trousers with the Lefkon signature waistband. The separates could easily be matched with an existing wardrobe and dressed up or down.
Irini-Louisa Andrikopoulou has created yet another collection that stands out with its mixture of minimalism and sophistication. The Capsule Collection is a strong promise of what’s to come. Brands like Lefkov and Alexandra Design (2nd most impressive new designer) are the brands that will change the Greek fashion aesthetics if they do what they have been doing so well, so far.
Known as the Greek Manolo Blahnik, Vassilis Zoulias has made a name for himself by creating ultra-feminine evening wear. This collection of dresses does not go beyond the realm of what he is known for but further substantiates the notion that he is the most important greek designer in the greek market. His ability, his competence, and his creativity are never really in question, so just like a master artist he routinely produces silhouettes that would make even Audrey Hepburn swoon and Richard Burton do a double take. With the help of his rather prodigious Jewelry designer, his work stood out like Athenian columns. The materials used for this current collection is more or less what he is most comfortable with so there was lavish, ethereal inclusion of silk, satin and everything in between. The princess suits to frocks to gowns tailored to perfection, made to sell were obvious standouts of the show. And even the traditional pantsuits were given coattails to make them feel a bit less functional and a bit more romantic. It was a show full of glamor and levity without forgoing any substance. Zoulias remains the best finisher in Greece and with each passing collection that body of work becomes more and more formidable.
If Zoulias has the heart of every woman in Athens, then surely Yiorgos Eleftheriades has cornered the brains of many. His intellectual exploration into the avant-garde aesthetics is polished and unrelenting. His ability to construct and remain within the post-modern notions of silhouettes and deconstructed narrative is worth studying and applauding. Unlike many of his contemporaries in the industry (who mostly stem from the Scandi market), he is not shy to incorporate color into his steady march to avant-garde stardom. He is a serious designer with serious ideas and serious talent to execute those ideas into a collective narrative. His standout pieces were all made with functionality in mind but never forgoing the foundational philosophy of equipoise between personal and collective identity.
If you show up to Athens and run into anyone who works within the creative/entertainment industry you will find them gushing about Mi-Ro. And attending a Mi-Ro show is the equivalent of attending a Valentino show during the 90s as it is more about being seen as opposed to seeing the fashion. But that observation aside, Mi-Ro has earned the right to be considered one of the brightest brand in Greece.
Dimitris Mastrokalos and Giannis Raptis found each-other more than ten years ago. Together they created the brand MI-RÕ in 2003, and with that inserted a breath of fresh air into the Greek Fashion Scene. The brand quickly became synonymous with fearless and fresh designs that remains timeless pieces. Designer Dimitris Mastrokalos’ unique eye for dynamic silhouettes, feminine lines and detailed tailoring combined with Giannis Raptis’ marketing background proved to be a strong hand and thus MI-RÕ has been endorsed by everyone from fashion editors and stylists to celebrities and significant clients alike. Since its launch, MI-RÕ has expanded into four separate lines; Women’s Couture, Men’s Couture, Women’s Prêt-a-Porter and a Bridal line.
At Athens’ Fashion Week, MI-RÕ presented their AW18 collection to set the tone for a very intriguing feminine and fresh collection. A mix of Men’s and Women’s wear made for a quite interesting show.
For Men’s wear, MI-RÕ showcased an alternative to the classic suiting and shirting with a white suit with unconventional straps across as well as a white coat with the same unconventional straps across. It felt fresh, contemporary, edgy yet with a fair amount of classicism intact.
A white and golden fringed top and dress kicked the show off for the women’s wear. It had tons of feminine charm and felt young and fresh. Unlike the golden sheer chiffon dress that came next, it felt dated and done and was not exactly flattering to the model’s body. The delicate blue gown with one shoulder and sleeve, draped skirt and embellished with scattered fringes that followed, sure made up for that. It was feminine, exquisite and playful, the fringes also gave the gown plenty of movement and left quite the impression. The other draped blue dress with high slit and embellished with rhinestones was another hit, it felt airy, aetherial and very romantic and will undoubtedly excite women around the globe. The magenta dress with chiffon bodice and silk skirt will be a hit with the more classic fashionista although it lacked the same freshness, we have come to expect from MI-RÕ. The almost sheer chiffon dress in nude and delicate pink was beautiful, but again it too lacked the fresh and dynamic air about it. The orange gown, however, with ruched chiffon bodice and one shoulder was an absolute showstopper and it is easy to imagine it on a red carpet. The mix of textures added to its movement down the runway and it is sure to do well with fashion editors and couture clients around the globe.
MI-RÕ delivered a very promising and intriguing show at AXDW and it is truly exciting to see the brand develop and move forward.
Olga Karaververi is a curious brand. It is a brand that mostly caters to bridal wear and baptism (both are solid markets in Greece). While the Greek press has labeled this as Haute' Couture (it is not in the traditional French sense), the brand itself has a lot of promise due to its long history of making wedding dresses and gowns. Olga's ability to seamlessly transition between relatively more functional dresses to wedding couture is admirable. While everyone who is anyone in Greece knows the brand's ability to create intricate couture-esque design statements the more functional collection is not as widely known and appreciated. But if this is the path Olga is taking then it would be a mistake to write off her more functional work as they show immense promise and an astute understanding of predicting where the market is going. From Mary Katranzou type prints to singular solid palettes that stick to rigid silhouettes, Olga navigates two very separate design philosophy with ease and promise. While the crowd at her shows were infatuated with her wedding collection the other more colorful wear was just as fantastic and well thought out.
Athens Xclusive Designer week is one of those fashion weeks that hold strong promise and pushes fashion forward in a small market. The importance of the fashion week itself cannot be overstated as it provides not only a platform for fashion but also pride and networking for Greek designers who would otherwise be unknown to the world. Each cycle we find something interesting, something wonderful happening in Greece and with the help of Tonia Fouseki and her excellent team, AXDW has become one of our favorite places to visit. Fashion is not only about clothes, it is also about the overall experience and AXDW provides one of the most consistently well-organized experiences in fashion.