Celebrating 30 years of vision

Thirty years of exceptional contribution to the recording, study and presentation of Greek heritage certainly calls for a celebration. Hence the festive mood at the Benaki Museum’s new wing yesterday, as the Peloponnesian Folklore Foundation (PFF) celebrated a happy and fruitful anniversary and announced a few plans for the future. Established by leading costume designer and costume historian Ioanna Papantoniou in Nafplion in 1974, the foundation is an example of vision coupled with hard work and persistence. More than politics At the press conference, Alternate Culture Minister Fanni Palli-Petralia went beyond politics, recalling how as members of the Lyceum of Greek Women, she and Papantoniou would roam around Greece to record folklore traditions, ranging from music and song to dance and garments. Besides sharing memories, however, Palli-Petralia added that the government will assist the foundation in its efforts. Also at the press conference, Benaki Museum director Angelos Delivorias pointed out that the PFF is «not one of the dozen pseudo-institutions operating around Greece,» but a solid organization carrying out exemplary work. Delivorias stressed the importance of the foundation’s publications, as they become vehicles of research and knowledge both in Greece and abroad. Papantoniou offered an account of the foundation’s activities so far, ranging from past exhibitions and collaborations to publications and research, and also mentioned its plans for the immediate future. The PFF’s director also presented the foundation’s new, colorful website designed by Alexis Kyritsopoulos. Coming up A series of exciting plans were laid out for the future by Papantoniou: These include a new exhibition to replace the one currently on display at the museum in Nafplion («The Best of the PFF»); renovation of its multipurpose center for children, also in the Peloponnesian city; continuing the collaboration with the Benaki Museum, in order to develop more exhibitions and joint projects as well as the establishment of a fashion institute; the renovation and digitalization of the foundation’s rich archives; the maintenance of museum objects; and the continuous development of its publication department. Sponsorship The foundation is also embarking on an ambitious sponsorship program, in its efforts to lure aid from the private sector. Defined as a «new sponsorship philosophy» the program includes the introduction of three-year packages for companies. The foundation’s jewel in the crown in the exhibition department so far is «Ptychoseis: Folds and Pleats – Drapery from Ancient Greek Dress to 21st Century Fashion,» a major fashion exhibition which marked the current cultural year. An exceptional production tracing folds and pleats from antiquity to today – it opens with statues on loan from the National Archaeological Museum and ends on a futuristic note with Issey Miyake’s pleated Fete collection – the exhibition mixes fashion with art, culture, history and politics. Among the garments on display are more than a few gems: a Madeleine Vionnet gown featuring her signature drape (Winter 1935-1936); a collection of Mariano Fortuny’s early 20th century, mysteriously pleated Delphos dresses; Christian Dior’s Bar suit, also known as the New Look, which defined the period following World War II. This landmark exhibition comes to an end on Sunday. «Ptychoseis: Folds and Pleats,» at the Benaki Museum’s New Wing, 138 Pireos. The exhibition runs to Sunday. Opening hours: Friday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.