This must see young designer started her journey in fashion by attending Parsons and Istituto Marangoni in Paris, where she won the 2011 International Award at London Graduate Fashion Week. After briefly working for Giambattista Valli and as a correspondent for Greek Vogue in Paris, Christina Economou returned home to her native Athens in 2013 to fulfill her dream of launching her own label. We met up with her to discover her latest remarkable collection.
I was born and raised in Athens and have wanted to be a designer as long as I can remember. I’ve always been very creative and loved clothes. Growing up, I spent my time exploring the busy alleys in the historical center of Athens looking for amazing vintage pieces in the numerous flea markets. I also spent a lot of my childhood vacationing in the Greek islands of Amorgos, Spetses,islands of the Ionian Sea and so many more. I loved the contrast of the white picturesque villages and the vivid colors of light summer clothing. Even though I later studied and lived in Paris, Greece is very much a part of my inspiration. Fashion is a form of art. I really like the idea that you can become someone else depending on what you are wearing. I see clothing as an interpretation, a transformation.
I put my heart and soul into my graduate collection but winning the award was still so unexpected. A handful of designers were chosen out of hundreds of applicants from schools around the world from Singapore to Paris. It was an amazing feeling and the exposure was wonderful with sponsors such as Mulberry and L’Oreal and press members in attendance from Vogue, the Telegraph and other major newspapers. It really gave me the extra confidence I needed to follow my dream of starting my own collection and provided me with amazing mentoring to help me get started.
I am triggered by different sources of inspiration for each collection: it could be a historical or living person, a scenery, a photograph, a print or a vision of a woman wearing the clothes. In the past, I have been inspired by everything from Richard Avedon’s photographs to Diana Vreeland, vintage Dior, sketches of Escher, Ava Gardner in the Barefoot Contessa… I also love drawing inspiration from everyday street style - it gives me a sense of what women are wearing and want to wear. I regularly look at the Sartorialist and Le 21ème blogs which photograph regular people and not just the fashion set. I also regularly visit Showstudio’s website which has an amazing digital view of what’s happening in fashion.
In the art world I would say Hockney, Pollock, Gerhard Richter, Louise Bourgeois among others. Some of my biggest fashion influences are Cristobal Balenciaga and Mary Quant although there are many others I could list that have inspired me. Music also has been a big influence on my work. I love listening to Seu Jorge, the Pixies, Gramatik it always depends on the mood.
I worked at Giambattista Valli after graduating from the Istituto Marangoni from September 2011 until July 2012. It was an amazing experience to see his approach to design: he really understands what women want and manages to express their most feminine desires through his romantic creations. I also had the opportunity to be there at the start of his Haute Couture. It was very interesting to observe the amazing techniques and the craftsmanship that goes into every piece.
The idea behind my latest collection was to mix romantic florals with really intense saturated monochromes.I wanted to create a collection that had a bit of a bipolar character: some of the pieces are very stiff and urban and others are romantic, light weight, ethereal fabrics. When I started the collection I really wanted to create a connection between the more urban world and the pastoral world.
I create all of my silk in the historic town of Soufli which produces some of the finest silk in the world based on an age old tradition. The silkworms are bred there and the silk is then woven using a pre-industrial technique. The silk is made with the designer’s guidance from the weaving process to the custom finishes which allows me to be involved with every detail of the fabrics and the final garment.
My next collection will be the result of different uses of materials and a different approach to conventional pieces… I can’t say much more! Wait and see!
My personal style changes every day, my closet is very eclectic. I love everything from an amazingly tailored designer jacket to a great thrift shop vintage find. I can’t say that I have one personal style but rather many different styles. The woman I envision wearing my clothes is very confident and has no boundaries. She wants to feel good in her own skin every morning and not only on special occasions. She wants to be able to express her sense of style every hour of every day with no limitations.
I think this is a very exciting time for the fashion industry right now. There’s a new wave of designers that have emerged out of London and Paris such as Jacquemus, Isa Arfen, Simone Rocha that are really changing the fashion landscape and restoring the balance between major fashion houses and young talent. The industry, from buyers to major labels, are throwing their support behind new designers. I think it will be very interesting to see what happens in the next few years in fashion.