The Midas touch
Five years ago, actor and opera singer Dimitris Dassios created his first collection of statement jewels and sent them down the catwalk on tutu-clad models in the newcomers category of Greece’s fledgling fashion week, then known as Athens Collections.
Dassios had been dabbling in design for several years, handmaking jewellery for his friends from pleated metal mesh, gilded bronze chains, antique tulle, feathers and Swarovski crystals, but it was only in 2005, as a new member of the freshly minted Hellenic Fashion Designers Association(HFD), that he made his official entry onto Greece’s design scene.
Within a year, his theatrical collars, cuffs and earrings were gracing the vitrines of the famed Maria Luisa boutique in Paris, while Dassios was already expanding his repertoire to include sumptuous leather bags and jackets in suede or denim, festooned with tassels, fringes, crystals and panels of hand-painted silk.
Now , his collections are showcased at the premiere fashion fairs of Tranoi Paris and White Show Milan and are stocked in 25 prestigious shops around the world, as well as at Dassios’ own recently opened boutique in Kolonaki. Christos Costarellos, former president of the HFD, appreciatively calls Dassios a “product” of Athens’ fashion week. It is allegation that Dassios is happy to acknowledge.
“Fashion week has helped me enormously” he agreed during a March 24 interview at his shop. “It gave me the chance to expand creatively, to move into other areas and create a larger oeuvre of work. Through contacts made at fashion week, my collections were requested by influential showrooms and shops around the world.”
On March 27, Dassios enchanted his audience with a characteristically memorable showing of his Autumn/ Winter 2010 range, Noemvris, during Fashion Week Athens.
“ I thing it is a strong collection”, he said of the line, which featured flamboyantly cut leather jackets and chandelier earrings paired with perky umbrella skirts.
“I felt it deserved to be shown here as well as in Paris and Milan , where it has already been seen and sold.
Though Dassios said he is not interested in selling his pieces to shops in Greece, talking part in this season’s fashion week made for a well-timed promotion of his own boutique. After years of selling through galleries in Athens, Dassios opened his eponymous shop in Kolonaki at the end of February with the help of business partner Yiannis Lembessis, who undertakes day-to-day operations as well as the PR and marketing.
“The timing is a little weird[ because of the financial crisis] but because we work well abroad and have a completely unique product we wanted to do it anyways”, Dassios said.
“Apart from the fact that we really needed a space- I was working from my apartment- it also gathers and focuses the collection, and gives Greek customers a chance to get to know my work.”
By Cordelia Madden- Kanellopoulou
Φωτογραφίες: Patricia Munster