Style in the city — again

The City of Athens welcomes Greek fashion for the second time this year, with the state adding its own little twist. As the second edition of the Diners Athens Collections InStyle opens at the Zappeion Hall tonight, the world of Greek style is set to experience a substantial buzz, following the event’s successful debut in March. New mood There’s plenty to be excited about. Organized by the Hellenic Fashion Designers Association (HFD), in collaboration with the Municipality of Athens, the fashion week comes under the aegis of the Development Ministry, a reflection of the changing mood in the relationship between local fashion and the state. Meanwhile, the ministry is in discussions with Greek designers, apparel companies and other trade organizations and is looking into boosting the industry’s long-due development. Then there’s the global factor. Coming to Athens to attend the second edition of Greek fashion week is an array of foreign buyers and press covering Europe, America and Asia. Also on the fashion agenda is Fashion TV coverage, with footage from all shows (and more) broadcast on the channel throughout the month of November. And there will plenty of shows, from newcomers and veterans alike. Scheduled to participate at the Diners Athens Collections InStyle to present their take on spring/summer 2006 are the following designers and association members: Andria, Angelos Bratis, Aslanis, Celia D. Chara Lebessi, Christoforos Kotentos, Christos Costarellos, Christos Mailis, Daphne Valente, Deux Hommes, Dimitris Dassios, Elena Syraka, Elina Lebessi, Erifilli Nikolopoulou, Fanny Voutsela, Katerinalexandraki, Kathy Heyndels, Konstantinos, Lena Katsanidou, Liana Camba, Loukia, Makis Tselios, Maria Mastori, Mi-Ro, Nikolas, Nicolas Mavropoulos, Nikos-Takis, Parthenis, Pavlos Kyriakides, Simeoni, Smaragdi, Vassilios Kostetsos, Vasso Konsola, Yiannos Xenis, and Giorgos Eleftheriades. First time Some designers are making their Athens Collections debut this season. One of the most eagerly awaited shows is that of Angelos Bratis, a 27-year-old designer with an impressive resume, including collaborations with Italian house Gattinoni and teaching stints at Rome’s Accademia di Costume e di Moda. Vassilios Kostetsos, on the other hand, has long been a local media darling and busy fashion designer. Though she already enjoys a steady following in her Kolonaki outlet, it is the first time Lena Katsanidou will be presenting a catwalk collection. New HFD arrivals also include accessory designers Maria Mastori and Elena Syraka, who will be adding their creative energy to the collections of Giorgos Eleftheriades and Celia D respectively. Besides all the catwalk excitement, a number of designers will present a very different aspect of their individual vision through «Fusion-Art Meets Art.» An exhibition showcasing collaborations between fashion designers and artists, this show will be on view at the Zappeion peristyle. «I believe in Greek fashion,» said Athens Mayor Dora Bakoyannis at a recent press conference, adding that for years the city felt a little bit like «the Last of the Mohicans.» «Yet Athens enjoys of a lot of creative powers,» noted the mayor, revealing that various other cities have already demonstrated an interest in collaborating with the city on the fashion week front. «No one could believe what happened at Zappeion in March,» added InStyle publisher Petros Kostopoulos, who dubbed the first fashion week attempt an «experiment.» «Now we have to construct the experiment and fashion has to take to the street,» he said. Sponsors Among those supporting the event are Citibank’s Diners Club card (principal sponsor) InStyle magazine (communication sponsor) and TIM mobile telephony company (main sponsor). Anyone expecting this city to emerge as the next Paris, Milan, London or New York, hold your fashion horses. The so-called four world fashion capitals enjoy long histories, powerful infrastructures, industry recognition and backing; they are imprinted on the global fashion collective psyche. Given talent, hard work and appropriate support, this country will find its own spot under the fashion sun, allowing its creative forces to increasingly blossom.