CULTURE

Greek history lays foundations for hip fashion agenda in 2002-2003 season

A fresh take on Greek history offered Michalis Aslanis a new platform on which to show his work. Away from what usually seems an endless parade of garments, the Greek fashion designer presented his 2001-2002 Autumn/Winter collection at the Foundation of the Hellenic World, not in the form of a catwalk show, but as a walk-through presentation. Aslanis’s inspiration came from «4,000 Years of Hellenic Costume,» an exhibition which is on show at the foundation. The exhibition, however, was not just the backdrop for the collection, but its co-star, as models stood beside the displays. Recording the history of Greek dress from pre-history to the Asia Minor catastrophe, the exhibition was curated by Ioanna Papantoniou, a distinguished stage and costume designer who founded the Peloponnesian Folklore Foundation and heads the National Archive of Greek Traditional Dress. And so Aslanis took his cue from the early Bronze Age, the Archaic period, Byzantium, the Ottoman era and the Greek revolution, all the way to the early 20th century. By juxtaposing history and fashion, he managed to capture the spirit of the times through the use of bright colors, chiffon and embroidery: From antiquity, Aslanis chose draping fabrics, of course, on white dresses, while from the Minoan civilization he played with ruffles – which turns out to be this season’s must. For the Byzantines, the story was silk and lace, while the colorful embroideries of the islands became pretty floral patterns for capes. As for the wedding gowns – always a highly lucrative part of the Greek fashion business – Aslanis placed his brides next to various heroes of the Greek revolution. The designer, who is well known for his comprehensible collections of cocktail and evening wear, dedicated the collection to the 2004 Athens Olympics. How wearable is Aslanis’s new crop of garments? Considering this season’s high fashion value on anything ethnic, it seems like the right time to add a local twist to a global trend.