When Athenian fashion designer Mary Katrantzou told Marianna Vardinoyannis (founder of the Association of Friends of Children with Cancer, ELPIDA) that she wanted to do a fashion show celebrating their 30th year anniversary at the Temple of Poseidon, she was met with silence. As Gucci discovered two years ago when they made a bid to present a fashion show at the Parthenon and were met by a resolute ‘no’ from the Central Archaeological Council (KAS), Greece’s sacred sites and fashion shows just don’t blend.
The 36 year-old designer, whose uniquely stylised and sophisticated creations have taken the world by storm, gaining her an A-list fan base that includes style icons such as Beyonce, Olivia Palermo, Adele, Michelle Obama, Alexa Chung, and Lupita Nyong, is based in London but retains a great deal of her inspiration from her native land. Indeed, the ELPIDA Fashion show taking place at the Temple of Poseidon on October 3rd (with ticket prices reputed to be at 1,000 euros each), will be themed on Katrantzou’s love of Greece. Meanwhile, she will also be celebrating a decade at the top of the fashion world.
Built by Iktinos in 444 BC, the same year as the Parthenon, the Temple of Poseidon in Sounio is considered a magical and spiritually important place. According to Sacred Geometry, it stands exactly under the alignment of four stars that metaphysicists and astrologers say is a direct portal into the heavens. Tourists flock there to take in the temple’s stunning views and energy, especially at sunset, and presenting one’s work there is a truly rare feat.
Katrantzou has a special affinity to the place: “When I first visited many, many years ago, it was the only monument I’ve ever come across in Greece, and also while travelling round the world, where I feel so connected to the sky, the earth, and the sea,” she told Harper’s Bazaar adding “There is a raw energy in that positioning.”
Of her ability to gain approval for her fashion show to be presented there, Katrantzou noted how very difficult it is because something of this kind needs to be approved by both the Ministry of Culture and KAS. “That whole process took over six months,” Katrantzou told Vogue. “In July we achieved what I thought was the impossible and got the yes! It was so unexpected I cried and it’s the first time in the 10 years I’ve worked in the fashion industry that I’ve had that reaction.”
Katrantzou added that the show, which will be presenting Spring/Summer 2020 designs, is especially meaningful for her because she will be combining numerous elements. “It’s not just about designing clothes, it’s about communicating the values of my country,” she said. “It’s giving my guests the opportunity to look at a part of my country that they might never have seen before and doing it for a charity is a way to give back when, as an independent brand, you can’t do it on a level of personal donations. Us being able to raise money through ticketing the show will meaningfully support the research.”
The event promises to be ethereal, with the accompaniment of music by Oscar-winning composer Vangelis Papathanasiou, who collaborated with Katrantzou in August at Epidaurus where her costumes were featured in a dance performance called The Thread.