A few days before the huge demonstration in Athens and Thessaloniki for the Macedonian naming issue, Greek Fashion Designer Laskaris presented, for the second season in Paris, his Spring-Summer ‘18 collection, entitled “Olympias, the woman behind Alexander the Great” at Paris Fashion Week.
Some people use their voices in order to be heard, others write articles or books in order to be read, when serious matters occur. But for Laskaris, the runway was his mouthpiece.
We were in the amazing Maison des Centraliens, the first hotel decorated by the Belgian Fashion Designer Martin Margiela. Besides the title, the hall had ancient Greek columns and bursts of Alexander the Great to give an overall feel concerning the theme of Laskaris’ summer collection. When the music “Sirens of Ulysses” by Daemonia Nymphe played, we were immediately transported to Ancient Greece. Daemonia Nymphe (Spyros Giasafakis and Evi Stergiou), is an ethereal world music ensemble, the first artists worldwide to compose and perform improvisations with reproductions of Ancient Greek instruments manufactured by Nikolaos Brass.
Laskaris’ Muse was the dynamic Olympias, Princess of the Molossians of Epirus, wife of King Philip II of the Macedonians, and mother of Alexander the Great. “I am very happy to present my collection for the second consecutive season at Paris Haute Couture Fashion Week. Olympias was a very special woman with a timeless range of charm. She inspired me initially for her travelling life. She had a personal power and glamor, and when Philip was absent, was giving her the rule of Macedonia. She was a woman with huge reserves of power. A woman who changed the events with her presence and was tasked with raising this great man. To be honest she reminds me of many ladies dressed in my Fashion House, great women, successful and dynamic who are behind strong men. I believe that a strong man has always behind him a dynamic, intelligent and versatile woman who discreetly pushes and supports him. Why not?”
The collection travelled side by side with the life of Olympias. It started by Olympias’ birth in Pasaronas, an ancient city of Epirus. Olympias, as the myth says, was sleeping with snakes and feeding reptiles. The snake as a symbol, depicted opposing forces: the regeneration, the primordial life-giving momentum but also death, the good and the evil, the light of knowledge and the darkness of the unconsciousness.
The snakes that Olympias domesticated were created on the clothes of leathers, embroidered with handmade enamels and represented on the designs with dazzled Swarovski. The fabrics were handcrafted to recall a traditional tool. The collection’s sandals were traditionally hand-crafted, made by Laskaris himself.
The emblem of Epirus, the oak tree, made the colour green the prominent shade of the collection consisting of ecru, pastel, black and gold, and Greek-style Veran. Olympias served in the Oracle of Dodoni, and she has already been initiated into the Bacchic Mysteries. So the entire collection reminded us of the Ancient Greek costumes of priestesses combined with the pagan music “Thracian Gaia” of Daemonia Nymphe, including lyrics in Ancient Greek and themes mainly of bachelor ceremonies, orphan hymns and invocations.
Olympias’ life journey then headed us to Samothrace, where the designer Laskaris was born, and where Olympias became a priestess of the Mysteries of the Cabiri. According to Ancient Greek history, Philip II was in the mysteries, where he met and fell in love with Olympias in a ritual of mysterious orgies of the Mysteries of the Cabiri.
The collection was influenced by the columns of the temple of Samothrace, where during the feast the conception of the charismatic Alexander the Great was created. The clothes were made with handcrafted meanders, destroyed columns, matted with real stones, light rays and copper.
Olympias told Philip that one evening, Jupiter in the form of a snake visited her sleeping room and left her pregnant, and so Alexander the Great was the son of God. By the time of his birth, Olympias had only one mission: to make Alexander the most powerful of men, as he became.
The last phase of the show identified her as Philip’s wife in Pella and Aigai -current Vergina-, from where the leather, embossed flowers on the wreaths of the collection were influenced. A collection-hymn to Vergina, to Macedonia of Greece. Τhe topical subject honours all Greeks, emphasising through Macedonia’s Queen that Macedonia is Greek.
The show was hosted by the Parisian Office Méphistophélès Productions and its director in Greece and Ambassador of Goodwill at the Institute of Cultural Diplomacy, Mrs. Ada Iliopoulou. “The House of Laskaris amongst others, wanted to remind the ancient mysteries that always cause great interest to the foreigners. Olympias was a priestess and we considered it appropriate that the whole atmosphere of the show should remind you of Ancient Greece with Ancient Greek columns of temples from which the designer had been inspired. To emphasise that even more, we wanted to use the corresponding music. Daeomia Nymphe with the reconstructions of Ancient Greek instruments and the lyrics in Ancient Greek was perfect for it. During the show we used orphic hymns. They impressed the hosts, who left asking me to translate them ancient Greek. It’s very impressive the way that foreign journalists love ancient Greece”.
We left Maison des Centraliens with a wonderful candle in a black box with the name of Laskaris by E2 Aroma, but above all with a light in our hearts. Laskaris’ SS’ 18 collection was an amazing journey within a journey, a tribute to Ancient Macedonia, to strong women and great civilizations that never die.