Celia Kritharioti is a fashion designer from Greece with an international following. She recently showed her Spring / Summer ’20 collection at the British Museum and presented a vivid show of gorgeous color and couture detailing. She is the owner of Greece’s oldest fashion house, established in Athens in 1906. Hand beaded detail and flowing; feminine lines are signature elements of her designs which are beautifully wearable. Her designs celebrate the strength and uniqueness of women.
Your designs are so beautifully feminine and constructed in such an artistic way. Since the early 1900s, your family has been creating couture. Can you tell us about the heritage quality of your brand?
My family acquired the oldest Couture House of Athens (established in 1906) in the early 1980s. Still, I do remember myself, ever since I was a little girl, being there: watching the seamstresses work, doing rehearsals, playing with fabrics. We were traveling twice a year to Paris to attend all defiles, from Chanel to Cristian Dior and Yves Saint Laurent. It is such a precious heritage. It is not only the knowhow but the aesthetics and a way of thinking: how to make every woman feel unique
Couture is an art for that is such a powerful embodiment of the designer’s vision brought to life by the skilled hands of seamstresses who embroider, embellish, and festoon the fabrics in lace and jewels. When you are coming up with a vision for a collection is it collaborative with your team? I’d love to know more about your process.
It is only about collaboration with my team. Having an idea is a good start, but there is a lot of work required to execute it: picking the right fabric, embellishing, embroidering. Usually, I have a main theme in my mind, a mood-board or maybe some clothes, and then I start developing the idea: colors, fabrics, designs. Couture is an art that needs many working hands.
I love that your Paris Couture AW 19-20 opened with a ballerina who set the tone for the mix of femininity and strength that came next. The delicate tulle skirts paired with the strong lines of the tops and then the flattering silhouettes of the gowns with the gorgeous fringe, crystal or pearl accents were all so interesting and intricate. All of the looks represent such an artistic vision, and importantly, they look so fun to wear. There’s a similar radiance and enjoyment of life that comes across in the fashion shows and the social settings where women are wearing your creations. Your clothes are made in one of Greece’s most beautiful neighborhoods, Plaka, or “neighborhood of the gods.”
Do you think that there’s something about the setting that you create these dresses that translates into the beauty of the clothes?
Definitely! It is a matter of energy, the radiation of one place, the sunlight. Driving inspiration from everything is what I do. Athens is a city where art is everywhere, especially in Plaka, from the Acropolis to smaller temples and sights.
Can you tell us about the vision that you have as a designer and what you hope that comes across in the design of the couture that you create?
My vision is quite simple and so difficult to accomplish: I don’t want to create just a beautiful dress but create something that will make a woman feel the best version of herself, to make her confidence rise as the zipper of her dress goes up.
Is there a particular fabric or color combination that has you excited at the moment?
My last show took place at the British Museum in London, two days before Brexit. I love all the colors. I keep thinking that colors are a language beyond nationalities, ownerships, religions, cultures, and eras in history. Colors are “words”, they are emotions that connect people; they act as a means of communication, and they emphasize the universal truth: History is a circle that encompasses us all, and in it, we all move in unison upon this planet.
What do you most look forward to about the Celia Kritharioti brand?
I usually do not like to announce plans because the future always has a way to surprise us. What I generally hope it that I still have the happiness to create.