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A jewelry collection > “The Greek Sun” November 5, 2007

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A jewelry collection > “The Greek Sun” > Some of Depy Chandris’s latest creations, link the past to the present.

In an exhibition organized by The New York Times, at their offices on Eighth Avenue in New York, along with the National Tourism Organization of Greece, Depy Chandris is to display her latest collection, titled “The Greek Sun” on November 26.

Unlike the rest of us Greeks, Chandris’s creations don’t need a visa to enter the United States. Depy, the youngest daughter of a Greek shipowner, has just arrived in New York wearing the jewelery she herself has made. She was discovered by Alexandros Iolas and Andy Warhol, who was an admirer of hers and used to pin notes on her creations with drawings and messages of love.

This is yet another chapter in the legend of Depy Chandris and her jewelry, that link past and future with the brilliance of the present.

Ermes subsidiary expands into Crete November 1, 2007

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Ermes Department Stores Plc announced that its subsidiary in Greece, Fashionlink SA, has signed a long-term lease agreement, for the opening of two new stores in Talos shopping centre, which is currently under construction in Heraclion, Crete.

The Italian firm Oviesse will open its first shop. In the past 35 years, Oviesse offers high-quality products that are in line with the latest fashion trends in attractive prices. It is a pioneer fashion company in Italy, with 10.5 million customers per annum. With 216 shops in Italy and abroad, it is the largest retail trade network of the country.

In Cyprus, Ermes has already opened the first Oviesse shop in The Mall of Cyprus and is planning to open the second in The Mall of Engomi.

The same shopping centre in Heraclion will also host a Peacocks store of 500 square meters, the second in Greece. Peacocks is a British fashion firm with products suitable for all family in low prices. Cyprus has already two Peacocks stores. In Crete, the two stores will open in March 2008.

Greek designers turn classic accessories contemporary October 31, 2007

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Greece is a country whose adornment tradition stretches to antiquity. Now, four of the country’s accessory designers are reflecting that rich history, and attracting clients here and abroad, through their contemporary takes on classic forms.

Whether spectacularly chunky or elegantly fine, Maria Mastori’s pieces are divided among three collections: an exclusive, often made-to-order line of precious or semiprecious stones, silver and white gold; a diffusion line featuring raw materials like driftwood; and a collection tailored to be eye-catching on the catwalk, where Mastori works with the fashion designer Filep Motwary.

“Same Time Tomorrow”, the spring/summer 2008 collection to be presented during Greek fashion week, explores environmental concerns and incorporates natural elements like satin, cotton and pearls. “With a piece of jewelry you can change your entire look,” said Mastori, who lately enjoys working with pink quartz and marble.

At Mastori, items begin at €50, or $70, and exclusive pieces start at €400. She sells in 18 outlets around the country and in Cyprus; last week she was presenting the collection at the Christine Mazza showroom in Paris.

Drama is the element that defines Dimitris Dassios’ couture-inspired jewelry and accessories. For the singer and actor who has turned a hobby into a very promising business in the last few years, creativity is expressed through vintage qualities and the patina of time.

“While the global apparel industry is at the same time chaotic and very specific, with accessories you can be unique, you can create an identity,” Dassios said. “When Greek designers manage to acquire an identity, it means that they have worked very hard – in a small and rather indifferent market which adores all things foreign. It also means that when you go abroad you are very strong.”

The new dynamic is evident: at a Milanese showroom last month, Dassios’ one-of-a-kind jean-jackets with appliqué vintage 19th-century embroideries were snatched up by the Hong Kong boutique Joyce, among other orders. Previously, jewelry pieces had made their way to Maria Luisa in Paris and to Churchill in Kansas City. Last week, Dassios presented his work at the Vendôme Luxury Trade Show in Paris.

While flirting with the baroque and the East in past seasons, Dassios’ collection for spring/summer 2008 is closer to home: Inspired by Greece, it features signature gilded, pleated metals, as well as plenty of turquoise and mother of pearl.

Now four years old, the Vassilis Zoulias Old Athens brand is known for being classic with a twist. Vassilis Zoulias’ shoes and bags are defined by their old-school elegance: Ribbons, satin, grosgrain, taffeta moiré, feathers, together with vichy cotton in summer and plaids in winter are a few favorites here.

Following a distinguished career in local fashion magazines as stylist and fashion director, Zoulias’ own design ambitions have now turned into a blossoming label, thanks to substantial financial backing from a private investor. With two free-standing boutiques, where refined surroundings go hand in hand with elaborate packaging, Zoulias is essentially recreating his obsession with the past, especially the 1950s and the 1960s. From ballerina flats to high heels with peep toes, footwear starts at €170 and special-order handbags may reach €800.

“The great difficulty in Greece lies with production, finding the right people to make things,” said Zoulias. “There are still some very good ‘hands,’ however, and as long as the product is good, clients will pay for it.” Proud of his made-in-Greece output, Zoulias says increasing interest from abroad may lead him to adopt new production patterns, although, for now, bags made in Athens are available at Jamilco in Moscow. “Call me a romantic,” said Zoulias, “but there is a factory still active, thanks to us.”

Doukas Chatzidoukas’s own take on romance has a particularly edgy feel. Established in 2003, Doukas, the brand, includes shoes, bags, costume jewelry and, as of very recently, a capsule clothes collection, all carrying the signature Chatzidoukas touch: couture techniques given a street-savvy spin.

There is plenty of leather, assortments of Swarovski crystal, from clear to opaque, as well as silk tulle, viscose and textile furniture. With all of the production done locally, the brand’s entry-level bracelets are €140 while bags may be as much as €1,200.

The designer’s resumé includes joining forces with Estée Lauder for the cosmetic giant’s Pink Ribbon Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign in Greece and Cyprus; creating a sandal sponsored by Swarovski for the 2004 Athens Olympics, currently at the Austrian crystal specialist’s Museum; and a collaboration with 10 Corso Como in Milan. Now, he is focusing his efforts on building his local wholesale network.

While there are no Doukas stores yet, Chatzidoukas’s €400 sandals, among others, are selling in 20 high-end shops around Greece. Abroad, Doukas pieces are available in Dubai and Doha. “Selling abroad is one thing, but establishing a viable, international career is quite another,” said Chatzidoukas. “While it might be easier for a French brand, given that it comes from a different fashion culture, I don’t believe that we Greeks are very much behind. Borders are now open and communication has been established. It’s a matter of talent, hard work and being at the right place.”

Street traders under scrutiny October 19, 2007

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Thessaloniki’s top prosecutor, Vassilis Floridis, yesterday ordered the police to seize all the Chinese-made products sold by street traders because of alleged evidence to suggest they enjoy an unfair advantage over other goods.

Floridis gave the order after a meeting with representatives of the former financial crimes squad, customs officers, police and local officials where the participants discussed measures to tackle tax evasion and unfair competition. Floridis was informed that the Chinese products sold on the city’s streets often arrive in Greece in such a manner that taxes are avoided.

One way that this happens, according to authorities, is for invoices that accompany the products from China to show a smaller amount than the true value of the goods so less tax is paid. If the goods arrive in Greece via another EU country, then documentation is produced to suggest taxes have already been paid, which authorities say is not always the case. Floridis also asked for tighter checks at customs.

Greece’s Public opens first Cyprus store October 18, 2007

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Limassol to follow, third in Paphos > Greek company, Public, has opened its first store in Cyprus and plans to open two more in the near future, challenging the local bookstores and opening up a new market for home entertainment.

Many years ago, the limited choice for bookstores were the Moufflon and the Bridgehouse [later Soloneion] in Nicosia and Kyriacou Bookshops in Limassol. Recently though, despite the growing trend for online bookstores, such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, this segment has grown to include Metropolitan and newcomer Savalas, with traditional bookshops now stocking stationery supplies, music and DVDs, while the chain of Play music stores has opened up in all towns.

Public’s flagship 1,700-square metre store opened in the ‘Mall of Cyprus’ in the Shacolas Emporium Park last month with an estimated 5,000 people visiting the books section that boasts 80,000 titles, as well as the home entertainment, music, games and computer departments on the first day.

The holding company, Publicworld SA, embarked on an ambitious recruitment drive and employs 35 staff at all levels, from mid-management department heads to marketing and sales, as well as engineers, cashiers and store keepers.

ICT Publicworld Ltd., owned directly by the Greek investor Panos Germanos, has pumped some 2,5 million euros into the Cyprus operations and plans to open its second Public store in Limassol and possibly a third one in Paphos. This is in line with the Group’s expansion plans to have a total of 15 stores in Greece and Cyprus by the end of 2011.

Hardware in stock include LCD TVs, home and portable DVD players and recorders, MP3 players, games and gadgets, 50,000 music CDs, 10,000 films and series on DVDs. The product mix on the shelves is about 60% for IT, home and communications technology, 20% for books and 20% for music and movies.

But it will have to work hard to attract the English-speaking consumers who are proportionally more than in Greece where Public has two stores and will open a new one in Athens’ Syntagma area scheduled for opening in early December.

The books section has a good selection of English-language books and recent bestsellers, but the children’s section is almost primarily Greek.

Public also attracts customers through its marketing gimmicks such as ‘in-store’ events, music downloading, digital photo printing and surfing the Internet through wireless hot spots, while it also plans to introduce new services such as ticket sales [cinema, theatres].

The only other shortcoming the store faces is the lack of magazines and newspapers, even though in the stores in Greece they do stock specialist magazines such as for music, art, architecture and technology.

Urban warfare, Comme des Garcons style October 14, 2007

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Continues in Athens with new Guerrilla Store > Inside the Kolonaki Guerrilla Store.

The tiny logo sticker by the nondescript entrance opens the door to a world of high intellectual style, just ring the bell. Urban fashion warfare continues in Athens as the city’s second Guerrilla Store by Comme des Garcons opened in commercially active Kolonaki last month. This second “occupation”, the term coined by the Japanese fashion house, follows the first one at the downtown Bios center last year.

Established by Rei Kawakubo in Tokyo in the early 1970s, Comme des Garcons belongs to a select group of global, trendsetting fashion industry leaders, as opposed to followers. Based on deconstruction, plenty of black, without discarding flashes of exuberant color, and silhouette innovation, Comme des Garcons’ signature looks are often defined as conceptual.

For Kawakubo, fashion serves as a platform for experimentation and exploration. The idea for the Guerrilla Stores occurred to the Japanese designer sometime in 2004 as a form of alternative shopping experience. Short-lived, a maximum of one year is authorized for every occupation, emerging in unexpected places and without counting on advertising, the outlets are a sharp contrast to Comme des Garcons boutiques worldwide where meticulous attention is paid to every single detail.

Stretching from Hong Kong to Singapore and Reykjavik, the stores have proved a tremendous success. Besides Athens, the fashion fight is currently on in Beirut, while outlets recently disappeared in The Hague and Cracow. Stores are expected to open in Warsaw and Miami, the latter marking the first time the Comme guerrilla concept travels across the Atlantic. A store is also scheduled to open in Dusseldorf, as part of an exhibition at the city’s modern art museum.

kolonaki_guerrilla_store.jpg  Meanwhile in Kolonaki, the 150-square-meter warehouse space has conserved its previous, untidy character, with various installations acting as counters and dressing rooms. The man behind the local Guerrilla Comme des Garcons campaign is Dimitris Papadopoulos. With a career in retail, Papadopoulos came under the Comme des Garcons spell after viewing a collection in 1997.

For this second Guerrilla venture, Papadopoulos traveled to Paris, handpicking a number of exceptional pieces from the early period of Junya Watanabe, originally a Kawakubo protege, the designer now works under his own name for Comme des Garcons, as well as Comme des Garcons circa 1999.

Catering to a rather broad, 20 to 70-year-old clientele, the Kolonaki store showcases vintage as well as recent apparel and accessories. Besides collectible pieces, accompanied by visual material demonstrating how each item was presented on various catwalk shows, the outlet has a constant flow of merchandise.

The entire gamut of Commes des Garcons perfumes is available here, with the brand-new Luxe collection on its way too. Also on display are pieces from the Play line, a Comme des Garcons collaboration with New York-based artist Filip Pagowski; polo shirts from a collection co-produced by Watanabe and Lacoste together with Comme des Garcons wallets and footwear.

In the words of its creators: “Style is a revolution, a way of life, a state of beautiful anarchy, spread the word, leave your mark, join the guerrilla.”

For more information visit > www.guerrilla-store.com 

Korres Greek care products debut in Shanghai this month October 12, 2007

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The land of Greece is so steeped in legend that even the plants and herbs have magical properties. Just ask George Korres, a pharmaceutical graduate from the University of Athens.

In 1996, he became the owner of Tzivanidis, the oldest homeopathy medical store in the country and began promoting the magic of herbs with his natural therapies. Since then, Korres has expanded the business to include a range of more than 300 products encompassing face, body, hair and sun care, Korres color, Korres Greek flora and a special line for men. The brand claims that its products “broadly avoid synthetic components that can comprise up to 30-60 per cent of cosmetic formulae, replacing them with greatly beneficial, naturally derived ingredients”.

These include native Greek flowers and herbs such as thyme, basil and crocus, as well as yogurt and honey. Korres has also begun cooperating with Chios Mastiha Growers Association to develop a special line featuring their unique resin. Having spread from Greece to New York, Taiwan and London, Korres will make its debut in Shanghai this month.

Check out the skin care brand that stars like Victoria Beckham, Kylie Minogue and Naomi Campbell rave about. Despite its celebrity cachet, all products are reasonably priced.

Location: JB City Plaza, 1618 Nanjing Xi Lu

Related Links > www.korres.com