CULTURE

Chara Lebessi a rising star in fashion

Anyone who wants to establish their career in Greece has to first gain recognition abroad, and then come back to win fame, money and glory. That was the case with Dimitris Mitropoulos, Maria Callas and Jean Desses. And to a lesser extent, it is true of the young designers such as Sophia Kokosalaki. Kokosalaki came from London, where she had made her name, to do the costumes for the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. They were a great success, and Dimitris Papaioannou was right to choose her. In the same field is Chara Lebessi, who studied computers and public relations, and then switched over to fashion design, first in Athens and then in London at Central Saint Martin’s. In March 2001, while she was still a student, Lebessi won the first panhellenic competition for the design of a wedding dress, coming in first among 170 young Greek designers. She participated in Trash Art, presenting a dress made of seaweed in 2002 and one made of broken glass in 2003. In August 2002 her collection was bought by the London Designers store on Fulham Road, a connection she has kept up. Since then she has presented her autumn-winter collections in Athens. She is a member of the Hellenic Fashion Designers Association and presents her work at Fashion Week in Athens. On July 5 she presented her summer collection in Belgrade to raise funds for Princess Aikaterini’s charity for orphans. The program was sponsored by the National Bank of Greece and Hellenic Petroleum, which are both active in the growing Serbian market. Greek Ambassador to Serbia Christos Panagopoulos opened the garden of the ambassador’s residence for the fashion show. The fashion event raised funds for 80 children orphaned by the war in Yugoslavia. The children live at the Drinka Pavlovic foundation, under the auspices of Princess Aikaterini. Youthfulness, femininity, daring, geometric shapes, expensive fabrics – mainly silk – lots of black and white, and imagination are the keynotes of Lebessi’s styles. The young, attractive designer, dressed in red and white, was applauded by the models and the personalities who attended the fundraiser, including soprano Jadranka Jovanovic of the Serbian National Opera and La Scala, and artist Cile Marinkovic.