Photos by Carlo Raciti
Animal prints, colourful embroidered overcoats and glamorous, billowing maxi dresses stole the show on the final day of the Athens Xclusive Designers Week Autumn-Winter 2016-17 collections in early April.
Nikos-Takis: Shiny nights
First up that evening was Greek designer label Nikos-Takis, which was founded by Nikos Tsibilis and Takis Karabozas more than half a century ago.
The fashion label saw significant success in the ‘70s, with larger-than-life figures such as Jayne Mansfield, Jackie Onassis and Maria Callas donning their designs.
With long-time collaborator Haris Tsiaras now at the design helm, the AW 16-17 collection was focused on a black and white palette, with mostly floor-sweeping dresses with flashes of gold, lace and bejewelled bodices.
There were plenty of classic bridal dresses, along with – wait for it – lamé suits for grooms-to-be.
A sheer black sparkly number with a frilly, high neck and sleeves, white oak tree leaves falling across one side of the body and scooped-out back, was the brand’s highlight piece.
As a smiling, silver-haired Karabozas – who lost his long-time partner six years ago – come out to greet the crowds at the close of the show, there was nothing the audience could do but feel a little emotional.
Notis Panagiotou: Suited beauty
With a collection inspired by the androgynous style of Marlene Dietrich, Cypriot designer Notis Panagiotou also went for body-skimming maxi dresses – some with daring splits and others with sheer bodices and lace details – in green satin, white and black velvet.
Two of my favourite pieces were a yellow top emblazoned with eggplants and a stretchy, skin tight below-the-knee faded denim skirt with matching cropped ecru jacket featuring frayed denim detail.
Panagiotou’s elegant black double-breasted suit-dress in black velvet with a flowing, thigh-baring skirt is a timeless piece that would make a brilliant addition to any woman’s wardrobe.
Funky Buddha: Living for the city
Established by two young brothers Nikos and Kostas Alexiou whose business trip morphed into a fun fashion brand, urban casual wear label Funky Buddha has done an impressive job of building a young, dedicated fan base in Greece in a short space of time.
Not only can you find the cheerful brand in Athens’ department stores, but they’ve opened a string of stores in a number of Greek cities, and have also started to branch out abroad, to Cyprus, Romania and Spain, among other markets.
Their looks are not just limited to weekend wear though.
Funky Buddha skilfully interprets the new, more relaxed office dress mode – particularly for upstarts working at one of the numerous Greek start-ups that are flourishing. Ladies, how about a pair of dusky pink chinos worn with a baby pink shirt, a colourful silk scarf and white sneakers? Sounds a whole lot better than a dull grey suit.
The Alexiou boys utilised motorbikes as stage props for their show, which consisted – for the most part – of logo-emblazoned t-shirts, checked shirts, sweaters, parkas, hoodies, denim jeans, floral mini-dresses and leather biker jackets.
A classic black and white herringbone wool coat for the ladies added an extra touch of class, worn with a grey pullover and faded, ripped denim jeans.
Panos Apergis: Everything under the sun
Celebrity favourite Panos Apergis launched his show to the tune of “Lady Marmalade” (though not the original), bringing out a snake print shift dress and a gorgeous jacket and shorts set with long beige crocheted fringing that danced along with the model’s gait.
There were quite a few snake print pieces, including a sweet jacket atop a skin-tight LBD, but there were also summery boho-hip paisley prints (Prince, we can’t stop thinking about you) on cotton mini dresses, plus full skirts and Bermuda shorts in camouflage.
The show continued with ethnic print knit pantaloons and matching crop tops, thick woollen Aztec-inspired dresses and a vest with black fake fur, grey mini dresses with wispy edges, as well as powerful animal images.
What stood out for me was the suit jacket and knee-length coat with red, yellow and ecru flowers embroidered onto a black background.
While Apergis’ AW 16-17 collection may be much of a mish-mash of styles and fabrics, unlike his futuristic SS 16 collection last October which had a specific theme running through it, there were plenty of fun, very wearable pieces this time around.
The designer, who always draws it girls and enthusiastic fans to his shows, seems to have gone the way of what people will actually want to wear and buy, rather than just bringing his creative visions to life.
The Mykonos crowd eyed flowing silk pantaloons paired with crop tops, making a mental note on their summer wardrobe shopping list, to ensure they’re well-prepared to pose nonchalantly for the paparazzi as they’re walking through the isle’s cobblestoned streets.
A colourful patchwork dress with a snipped hemline and a scooped-out back drew applause, as did a shorter, belted version.
Truth is, these days, most of those in the spotlight have toned down their look and actually try to avoid the cameras, particularly when holidaying, for reasons of not wanting to provoke in these lean times we’re a-livin’ in Greece.
And designer collections – like that of Apergis – have certainly reflected this new reality, while also aiming to raise the spirits of their fellow Hellenes with vivid hues, cool prints and playful pieces.
Celebrity Skin: Glam slam
Dimitris Strepkos and Eleni Barla, the designer duo behind the Celebrity Skin brand, have been regular figures at AXDW since their first appearance there in 2009.
This time round, they presented their hUmAn/2016 collection, which was one of the most extensive, edgy and varied at this edition of Athens’ fashion week.
Piece after curious piece just kept rolling out onto the catwalk, each demonstrating a theatrical flair that reflects the brand’s close collaboration with the world of the stage, at least here in Athens.
Celebrity Skin’s latest designs are all about delicateness and sheer fabrics. Highlights included two cream lace and black shirts – one of which was modelled by an almond-eyed actress who completely rocked the catwalk – and a sheer, sexy black mini-dress consisting of a dotty fabric.
Another black mini-dress, tight-fitting with pieces of tulle, looked slightly Mad Max, as did a colourful knitted, super-short psychedelic number with a fringed tail.
For those looking for longer hemlines, there were fluid chiffon skirts with matching tops, and dresses in wine red and beige.
Guys strutted down the runway in diamante-studded briefs and bow ties (separately, otherwise they would have looked like members of the Chippendales) as well as butt cleavage-baring pants.
A frisky black crocheted dress – and I’m all in favour of making winter knits sexy – with swaying fringing proved the big winner with the crowd and not just because it was modelled by a well-known Greek actress.
The show closed with a long-time film and stage actress, known for being low-key, who heightened the drama of a glamorous form-fitting floor-length black dress that’s all layers and tulle, with fingerless gloves intact.