CULTURE

Fashion for the body all at the right price

The day before Nikos Apostolopoulos – fashionably known as Nikos – unveils a brand-new series of hot collections to the Athenian press, the designer is busy working on the body beautiful. «It feels like I’m just starting out in the business today,» said Apostolopoulos to Kathimerini English Edition. «There’s my appetite, my energy, and above all, the way the public and the press deal with me. The public has always been crucial to me, in the way that consumers have remained faithful to my products.» It has been 17 years since the designer broke into the international scene with his «sculpted» underwear and began developing a serious distribution network around the globe. Like all creative folk, Apostolopoulos has been through a number of cycles and the current one is by far the most mature. «There is a renewal of the demand for all things sensual and erotic,» said Apostolopoulos. «We are ready, once again, after living quietly and traditionally in the last decade, to welcome powerful things, while the body is more than ever a part of our daily life.» In this phase of his career, Apostolopoulos is also back in charge of the business side. As for the creative part, the designer’s signature silhouettes remain unaltered. «It’s incredible, but after all these years, all the forms that I started with are still valid today, with only minor changes. They have never become passe,» said the designer. There is one fundamental change, however, and that is that Apostolopoulos is about to become a highly accessible name in the business of luxury undergarments. Slashing prices without compromising quality is a new route for the designer. «When you go into designer stores the prices are exorbitant. People are automatically categorized into those who can afford the items and those who have no right to them,» said the designer. «Or else you have to go to those labels which are ripoffs of the originals. There is no designer out there willing to provide clothes that are his own, signature style at proper prices. With the same quality fabrics, I’m reducing my prices by half, making them accessible to all.» Divided into three collections: the basic NA line, the N, a more exclusive line, and the Thalassa line for beachwear, Apostolopoulos is presenting various shapes and textures: black-and-white T-shirts; animal-print boxers and bikinis; sequins and applique beads for womenswear; meticulous knitwear; sportswear, while adding ethnic touches with kaftans and tunics. With unaltered silhouettes, the change comes through the fabrics, as Apostolopoulos is now working with fabrics that wick away moisture, for instance. There is also intricate guipure, for men’s shirts and women’s swimsuits as well as microfibers. Made in Greece, the new lines will be distributed to 750 international outlets globally – such as the landmark Parisian department store Galeries Lafayette – including 150 outlets in Greece. For the lines’ first major European launch in Paris next month, the designer is keeping away from catwalk presentations and is inviting members of the press to join him in the showroom – a more intimate approach. At the same time, the new collections are featured in a glossy catalog, which was photographed by Vangelis Kyris. A passion for fashion Born in Patras, Apostolopoulos graduated from Athens Law School before heading to Paris for postgraduate studies in political science and a European market law doctorate at the Sorbonne. On the lookout for diplomatic career opportunities, Apostolopoulos landed a job as director of the Greek Chamber of Commerce in Paris. Living in the French capital of style, however, Apostolopoulos grew increasingly drawn to the fashion field, to the point that he gave up his diplomatic aspirations and began working at the house of Thierry Mugler, among others. Apostolopoulos established his own company in 1985, taking advantage of what was then a particularly body-conscious era. Another major step was taken in 1994, when he developed his fragrance, Sculpture, in collaboration with cosmetics giant Lancaster. The scent is still going strong – with the limited Blue and Silver editions top sellers in Japan and elsewhere – while the line also includes skincare and cosmetics. As for Apostolopoulos’s next step, the designer is developing a home comfort wear line, which will feature luxurious pajamas, and more. «No designer has ever dealt with what to wear at home and I believe that this kind of garment is very accessible to me, as it follows the silhouette,» said Apostolopoulos. «It is an old-fashioned garment which needs a bit of polishing, and an innovative point of view. It’s a little bit like with underwear. No one else was involved with underwear back when I started. I want to do the same with home comfort wear and make clothes you can really live in.»