Golden Greece by Mary Katrantzou

For one night, the Temple of Poseidon on Cape Sounion revived the ancient splendour of Golden Age Athens when, in the 5th century BC, the Greek capital had its political hegemony, cultural blooming, and economic prosperity. Today, it's not living the same prosperous moments, but the will to overcome the dramatic crisis started ten years ago. However, the country is still strong, even if the problems are not completely over. For the first time this wonderful location has been granted for an event like this, as the government would like to give a sign of support for the national culture, and an attempt to spread it all over the world. 

"I could not believe that we had the approval to use the temple only two and a half months ago, and now the show happened," explained Mary Katrantzou after the show. "For me, it was very emotional to do something like this in my country. But it's important to remember that this has also been possible thanks to Elpida, which invited me to celebrate their 30 years of activity.” Elpida (greek for "hope"), founded in 1990, is the Association of Friends of Children with Cancer, established by Marianna V. Vardinogiannis, a UNESCO ambassador married to Greek shipping magnate Vardis Vardinoyannis. She devoted her life to helping kids, and so far she has been supported by Kofi Annan, Bill Clinton, the Pope, Queen Rania of Jordan, Brigitte Macron, Michael Schumacher, Barack and Michelle Obama, and the late Diana, Princess of Wales. "This show was something bigger than me; I’ll skip next season to be ready for this, and I feel that the aim of the event was worth the decision. In fact, there will not be a commercial collection that will develop the 38 looks of the show, but all of them would be auctioned and all the proceeds will be allocated to Elpida too,” explained the designer. There were actually two shows: the second sold tickets, the proceeds of which went to the Association too.

The show itself was magic and paid homage to the location and the Greek culture starting from the Golden Ages of Athens 2500 years ago. The looks were over-decorated and Katrantzou pushed her ability by creating combinations of colors and motifs to the maximum, fashioning one-off pieces, almost costumes. It was not a collection to set a commercial strategy for the next semester but an important statement of love for her country. "The cue was not from the aesthetics or dresses of Ancient Greece but all started from ideology, from the achievements of civilisation as a whole, the fundamentals of the world we live in today – mathematics, languages, literature, art, philosophy – still keep the traces of my culture which I'm proud of,” said the designer. Every single look had a story.

The numbers of Pythagoras, the Aristotle quotes (the 3rd fringed look, her favourite, was embroidered with the philosopher's famous words "Everything happens for a reason"), the queens, the vault and its constellations; the music was by Oscar winner Greek composer Vangelis. “This collection started a conversation with my hometown in terms of valuing the craftsmanship,” explained Katrantzou. "Unfortunately, it was impossible to use all Greek artisans to create the whole collection, but the sandals of the show and small accessories will be produced here and will be sold. So part of the proceeds will also go to Elpida.” Sometimes fashion is not just a matter of spotlights and fame, but also of real intentions. Mary Katrantzou, with her small company (compared to the luxury behemoths), proved that it's possible to skip a season (almost) trouble free, if the intention is good. 

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