Fashion lovers, both amateurs and pros, came together at the eighth edition of Athens Xclusive Designers Week, which took place at the Ethniki Asfalistiki Conference Center from October 23 to 26. In addition to showcasing Greek designer looks for spring-summer 2011, the event also showed considerable international flair: The fashion establishment was represented by the fall-winter 2010 collection of French house Guy Laroche, while the industry’s upbeat character was represented by New York’s colorful young talents Indashio and LaQuan Smith. What is the scope of AXDW? «To help, to the degree we can, Greek designers promote their work both locally and abroad,» noted Tonia Fouseki, chair of the event’s organizing committee, to Kathimerini English Edition. While Fouseki spoke about the need to communicate with Greek buyers, she did mention that an increasing number of local professionals do attend the AXDW catwalk presentations – Enny di Monaco, Shop & Trade and the Attica department store were a few of those present this time round. Besides local activity, AXDW collaborates with various international fashion weeks in Portugal, the United States and Russia, among other countries. Meanwhile, on the AXDW catwalk, Theia appeared to be way ahead, showing a collection for fall-winter 2011. As seamstresses worked in the backdrop’s video wall, the designer’s signature corsets appeared with crinoline tulle skirts. The collection featured a familiar theatricality, featuring soft velvets and strong colors, while white pearls and opaque tights acted as accessories. Overall, the show reflected a designer who believes firmly in her creative concept. From his choice of music to brooches in the form of insects, Ioannis Guia was in tribal mode. The Greek-born, Paris-based designer sent out an intriguing collection based on the juxtaposition of fabrics and volumes, in sweet greens, yellows and mauves. With Guia, it all seems to come together effortlessly, as the designer constructed his collection around signature layers of fabrics and double-volumed pleats. There are various speeds in the world of fashion and Miltos does not operate in the fast-forward lane. Instead, he choses to channel his love for his trade through his atelier output, working directly with his clients. On the catwalk, his vision translates into collections that frequently display historical elements. This time round, Miltos presented a series of tableaux vivants in which models stepped out of a large frame clad in horseback-riding gear. In pure countryside fashion, there was plenty of gingham but also tailored suits. This being a fall-winter 2010 collection for the current season, the show was ripe with warm reds, grays and browns. «Cemeterial Purity» was the title of the summer collection put forward by Celebrity Skin, a fashion house established by fashion editor Dimitris Strepkos and his assistant Eleni Mparla. Combining their fashion editorial skills, the duo has one single motto: dare to wear. While overall veering toward the conceptual, Celebrity Skin appeared more toned down this time, with more wearable, yet sculptured, numbers featuring transparencies, edgy embroideries, shredded and knotted fabrics in pieces that ranged from white (a first for the duo), nude and signature black. And there’s some good news for the developing brand’s young customers, with the arrival of a Celebrity Skin collection for kids. Cypriot Afroditi Hera came up with a sensible collection of day-to-evening looks. While large, fit-all leather bags acted as accessories, the designer presented safety belts for straps, plenty of stripes and an assortment of fringes. Hera’s vision of women includes their combative streak and she further displayed this through her familiar use of more industrial fabrics. There was a softer side, however, with a delicate seashell take in decorative roles. Rita Attala’s collection for her brand, Ratt, offered everyday numbers based on a loose, comfortable silhouette, where bright colors were mixed in cottons and jerseys. The idea of elastic bands acting as decoration, harness or as a fashion utility tool was one gimmick here. While curvy bloomers and off-the-shoulder looks appeared on the catwalk, there was a sense that Attala is making a sincere effort to create an identity for the brand. Showing for the first time at AXDW, Vassilis Zoulias went down familiar inspiration territory. In this case, this lover of the 1950s and 60s was all about Brigitte Bardot – think gingham and polka dots on dresses made of silk straw and silk taffeta. While Zoulias took his cue and title for the show from Jean-Luc Godard’s «Le Mepris» (Contempt, 1963), a film that gave the French superstar one of her few dramatic roles, Zoulias’s take was short and colorful. It takes a certain elegance to go down the Zoulias-style road, yet the designer is adamant that his universe is timeless and therefore relevant today. Also taking to the AXDW runways was rapidly rising Cyprus-born and Athens-based Stelios Koudounaris, fellow-Cypriot Notis Panayiotou and Alexios Romanos. At the same time, actress Christina Pappa and her business partner Joe Tongou unveiled the debut collection of their new brand, Christine & Joe. The event further included its established young designer awards: Ourania Kay was awarded the prize for Best Catwalk (and a runway slot in the event’s next edition), Asel & Eleonora won the Best Trendsetter award (accompanied by a presentation of their work on Greek music channel MAD), while Christina Skarpeli won the Best New Designer award and the chance to participate in Jeansation, an international young designers platform that takes place in Monte Carlo.