The enduring influence of the Minoan civilization on fashion, food, music and art is the subject of a high-level event at the Museum of London on Tuesday, November 5, which has been dedicated to Sophia Kokosalaki, the 47-year-old fashion designer of Cretan heritage who died earlier this month.
Featuring distinguished academics and designers, the event seeks to showcase how one of Europe's earliest and most advanced civilizations inspired the likes of Sergei Diaghilev, Ted Shaw, William Blake and his “Minotaur,” Pablo Picasso's Labyrinth series, Mariano Fortuny's celebrated Κnossos scarf, Karl Lagerfeld and Kokosalaki, among many others.
“Contemporary Minoans: Cretan Culture, Source of Inspiration” is an initiative of the cultural organization Branding Heritage (BH), and was put together with the support of the Regional Authority of Crete and the Greek National Tourism Organization's UK and Ireland Office. Branding Heritage aims to explore how Greek culture inspires contemporary creativity and drives business. The nonprofit organization is the brainchild of journalist Katerina Frentzos.
In London, Harriet Quick, a journalist and Vogue UK contributing editor, and Sarah Mower, chief critic of Vogue Runway and British Fashion Council ambassador for emerging talent, will pay tribute to Kokosalaki’s creative genius and exceptional personality.
Athens-born, London-based designer Mary Katrantzou, who recently presented a Greece-inspired collection at the Temple of Poseidon on Cape Sounion and has created a collection featuring Minoan motifs, will be a guest speaker.
Panel session speakers at the Museum of London also include professor of Aegean studies, Classics and ancient history at the University of Bristol Nicoletta Momigliano, Maze designer Adrian Fisher, lecturer in Aegean prehistory at Ca' Foscari University of Venice Ilaria Caloi, honorary research fellow at the University of Birmingham Diana Wardle, archaeologist and founder of Minoan Tastes Dr Jerolyn Morisson, ceramicist Lilah Clarke, Rainbowwave founder Maria Lemos, fashion designer Marios Schwab, archaeologist and jewelry designer Dr Polina Ellis, and Stephen J. Payne and Nikos Ziarkas of the Balothizer music ensemble.
The event will be addressed by Regional Governor of Crete Stavros Arnaoutakis, the Greek National Tourism Organization's president, Angela Gerekou, and secretary-general, Dimitris Fragakis, Greece's ambassador in London, Dimitris Caramitsos-Tziras, and journalist and founder of Branding Heritage Katerina Frentzou.
A special message will be sent by the head of the Picasso Administration, Claude Picasso, and the closing address will be delivered by Yiannis Politis, known for his restoration work at the Palace of Knossos on Crete. There will also be an exhibition of art with Minoan references by European artists, including Greece’s Alekos Fassianos, as well as workshops in the reproduction of ancient weaving techniques.
Museum of London, 150 London Wall. Starts at 12.30 p.m.