European Fashion Heritage Association

Journal EFHA World

Greek Fashion – 100 inspirational and creative years

fashion exhibitionGreek fashion

An exhibition reflecting on the national identity of fashion. Words by designer and curator Nikos Saridakis.

Greek fashion, which started out with tentative steps in the first decades of the 20th century and is now well established, has followed a rising path.

In different ways during each decade, there was a search for a European-Greek identity in the style and aesthetics of Greek fashion, in order to document the national identity or the continuity with the lost cultural past. Accordingly, almost incessantly from the very first years of the century, all the historical periods in the course of the Hellenism and the urban and folk culture were constant point of reference and source of inspiration in all forms of arts and crafts: from the Cycladic, Minoan, Archaic, Classical and Hellenistic Antiquity to Byzantium, the centuries of Ottoman rule and conquest by the West, until the formation of the contemporary Greek State after the War of Independence in 1821 and the following years until the early 20th century.

The exhibition aims to present these numerous different ways of inspiration and the unique results by each designer and personal style by showcasing around 140 clothes from the fashion collection of the Peloponnesian Folklore Foundation. Each designer manifests different ways of expression while inspiration comes from a common source. The influence of the past is put to form in a modern outlook and creation, whether by a famous designer or by a dressmaker following the trend of the season.

Influences are sometimes obvious, and sometimes the visitor is called to trace them either in the form and geometry of the clothing (pattern) or in its decoration. Sometimes these clothes are shaped according to the trends that prevail in European fashion at the time, while other times they are more oriented towards the historical era that inspires them. Sometimes they copy the original and other times they just reproduce its allure.

Even the selection of materials such as the fabrics, the threads, the weaving methods, the colour scale and the techniques used for dyeing, as well as embroideries and knits as significant types of folk crafts, are prominent in the exhibition. Each of these is present, in a way, in every clothing.

The research and study of the different expressions of each influence throughout the passage of time, from the 1920s until 2020, and of the particular mark on each item of clothing led to presentation of the exhibits in chronological order, with the same designers featuring in two or more decades and exhibition units.

**The exhibition was made possible by The Foundation of the Hellenic World in collaboration with the “V. Papantoniou” Peloponnesian Folklore Foundation (PFF). It takes place at the Hellenic Cosmos Cultural Center in Athens, open from 31 October 2019 to 31 January 2020.