Iconic Greek fashion designer Yannis Tseklenis has passed away at the age of 82. From the mid-1960s’ Tseklenis managed to put Greece on the global fashion map through his visionary designs and proud persistence of labelling his clothes with “Made in Greece”.
Amongst his many feats as a legendary fashion persona, he designed professional uniforms (such as those for Olympic Airways), hotels, décor items, industrial planning, and even the Athens Metro carriages.
The internationally acclaimed designer was a Greek ambassador in the fashion world with his unique patterns and fabrics being exported around the globe for over three decades.
Tsekenlis creations appeared on the front cover of the world’s most popular fashion publications including Vogue, Vanity Fair, Harper’s Bazaar and InStyle. His collections reached the shelves of famous stores such as Harrods, Selfridges, Debenhams, Bergdorf Goodman, Saks 5th Avenue, and Neiman Marcus.
Some of his most loved items with historical, artistic and costume value, can also be seen in museums around the world including Victoria & Albert Museum, Metropolitan Museum of New York, Art of Silk Museum in Soufli and Peloponnesian Folk Art Museum, where he has donated more than 800 original outfits.
The talented artist was considered the most important Greek fashion designer in the second half of the 20th century, as Tseklenis introduced in his designs themes from both ancient and modern Greek and world culture, including Byzantine manuscripts, Greek traditional woodcarvings, and paintings, heraldic designs, Persian carpets, tapestries, paintings and artifacts from several continents.
Tseklenis was born and raised in Athens and was married for the second time to Efi Mela, former model and Miss Hellas 1954, who survives him, along with his son Constantinos.
Greece’s first lady, Mareva Grabowski Mitsotaki posted, “Yannis Tseklenis, the name, the talent, the pioneering Greek designer,” while Culture Minister Lina Mendoni on Thursday said his work was characterised by “imagination, boldness, and vision.”
“With the intelligence that distinguished him, he seized every creative opportunity,” Mendoni said. “His ideas and his signature were found in our daily lives. In public transport, in everyday objects, in the design of spaces, even in schools. He was a loving, courageous and strong man. His death is also a loss for the aesthetics of our daily lives. I extend my heartfelt condolences to Efi Mela, his son Constantine, to his many friends,” added Mendoni.