10 August 2009

Sophia Kokosalaki celebrates a decade in design

Sophia Kokosalaki

There aren't many designers who could get away with reissuing their old designs to celebrate 10 years of their label. But there aren't many designers like Sophia Kokosalaki. She's recovered such classics as her 2001 Warrior Dress from the archives and tweaked them just a little based on what she's learnt over the past decade. ‘One of the reasons I reissued the pieces was that I noticed they haven't gone out of fashion,' she said. ‘Perhaps that is the best indication that one might be a good designer, to make clothes that are timeless but not boring.' But despite her illustrious career, Sophia insists one of trademark styles – Grecian style draping – happened almost by accident. She says she started doing it because draping enabled her to look busy in the competitive atmosphere of Saint Martin's, and as she didn't have the head start of a foundation degree – she had previously studied literature at Athens University – she could start doing it spontaneously. Her Greek heritage has helped her designs in other ways, too. ‘As a Greek woman you respect and embrace tradition, not just of the family, but also arts and crafts. I remember being on holiday in Crete when I was young and sitting with very old women, and they would give me something to do with my hands to shut me up. Embroidery – to make me a good bride,' she laughs. Well, it might not have had the desired effect but it has helped Sophia distinguish herself as one of the most interesting designers of her day. [Independent]

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