As a little girl, she dressed up her Barbie dolls and sashayed them down the ‘catwalk’. Her childhood vision led her to study fashion first in Athens and then at the prestigious design school Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in London, after which she was soon selling her designs at London Designers’s Ltd in Fulham. The positive response to her unique design outlook and breezy style came almost immediately; but not without the couture designer, one of Greece’s best, working extremely hard and having an incredible sense of dedication to her clients.
“I’m a perfectionist and will not stop until I am completely happy with the result!” she says, adding “I generally work on the client’s body, not on a dummy, in order to achieve the ideal fit.” Most recently she created a sleek, stunning and elegant dress in midnight blue for Greek actress Zeta Makripoulia, who turned to Lebessi’s know-how for the perfect dress to wear at her brother’s wedding. “Zeta has wonderful qualities, both in terms of her alluring beauty and personal style and as a person,” says Lebessi, who has designed dresses for many actresses, performers, IT girls and other personalities, who appear in them at red carpet events (actress Eleftheria Komi is a huge fan), parties and galas.
One of the chief reasons why her clients return to her, again and again, is not only that she knows how to create a dreamy, classical, sexy, timeless and highly elegant style through her designs, but that she also manages to keep injecting her collection with new perspectives. Over the last couple of years, she has introduced her own line of handmade, silver-plated and mesh jewellery, accessories such as handbags and leather sandals (with metal mesh, velvet and brocard details). Always designing for the modern woman and “aspiring to bring out the best version of herself”, she has also designed a line that includes handcrafted metal mesh tops in silver and gold, and gold body chains that can be worn underneath a garment with a low-cut top or back, adding yet more glamour, edge and shimmer.
The designer is a creative visionary with a warm, intuitive and open-minded personality, which makes women feel immediately that they are in safe hands.
“I study each of my client’s closely,” Lebessi says, “getting to know them before we start talking clothes. I develop an intuitive feel of who the woman is, what her body looks and moves like and what would suit her best.”
“Developing complete trust is essential,” she underlines. “Often, I suggest designs and styles to a client that they may never have considered – because I see something in them that they had overlooked. Even if she is sometimes hesitant, once she tries what I suggest she is often enthused by how much something she would never have chosen for herself brings out a radiant part of her personality and evolves her perspective.”
Her collection, which was originally deeply inspired mainly by the classical Grecian look with one-shoulder dresses, draping reminiscent of that seen on majestic ancient statues and ethereal materials like white, nude tones, gold and chocolate brown silk or lace, silk chiffon and organza, has evolved significantly. She has always remained loyal to a timeless sense of glamour yet her collection includes minimal, geometric and even edgily urban elements, as one can see in her silk wool and cashmere winter coats in black, midnight or electric blue and jungle red, and dresses or trousers with designs such as bells on the side of the pant, dice buttons or a camera.
Another, major part of Lebessi’s designs that have brought great acclaim to her are her tailor-made bridal dresses and accessories, which she artfully embellishes with 3D flowers on lace tulle veils, feathers, and silk chiffon: “My clients are women who may want to marry on an island and look goddess-like and elegant without being over-the-top. I use luxurious silks materials from Italy and France and we meet numerous times so I can design the dress on their body, to make certain that it will move perfectly with her every movement.”
A lover of women, modernity, classic beauty as well as nature and especially the sea, Lebessi once spent 300 hours working on a dress made of seaweed that she had collected from Vouliagmeni beach. “In May 2015 I was asked to create a dress to celebrate the International Museum Day, and as I love the beach so much I was inspired to make the Seaweed Dress, which was presented at the Museum of History of Greek Culture, in an exhibition titled ‘Seaweed and Silk Ribbons’” she says. The dress, made of seaweed strips appliquéd to silk tulle, now stands in her atelier, offering yet another thrilling view of her outlook.
*Watch GCT’s live video in Chara Lebessi’s studio right here-