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At the feet of the Greek chic

28 November 2014 / 19:11:03  GRReporter
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One sole and several pieces of skin in natural or any other colour have turned into the summer fashion of the year. Greek sandals with upmarket quality and design, being bandied about by leading names in film industry and music. They are produced in Greece and sold on the Internet, in major retail outlets abroad or in small boutiques on the Greek islands.

Greek sandals are still a hit among tourists, students and those nostalgic for the hippies’ era. The style has been preserved in the Melisinos workshop in the Psiri district in central Athens. Today, the son continues to make sandals in the atmosphere created by the father, whose clients included a line-up of celebrities of the rank of John Lennon, Sophia Loren, Jackie Onassis and Rudolf Nureyev.

Today’s fashion dictates sandals should bear their traditional minimalist elegance and sense of freedom. Only a thin leather sole separates the foot from contacting the earth and its energy. It is strapped up by leather pieces in various shapes ensuring a comfortable and gentle foothold and walk. It resembles the flying of Hermes the winged, messenger of the gods, depicted in ancient Greek vases and Roman statues tying his shoes, which Homer described as golden and transporting him everywhere "as a wind gust".

A similar pair of soft leather sandals in golden colour launched the success of the Ancient Greek Sandals company, which started production in 2010 with facilities in Corfu, Crete and Athens. The idea emerged after the decision of Christina Martini and her boyfriend Apostolos Porsanidis-Kavvadias to return from Paris and create something of their own in Greece. They hooked up with Nicholas Minoglou whose family has a sandal factory in the little town of Inofyta.

"Everybody tried to talk me out of it because of the crisis, but my desire to do something of my own had long gripped me. Although Ancient Greek Sandals are not luxury shoes in the conventional sense, e.g. as the ones I made for brands like Louis Vuitton and Balenciaga, they are actually luxurious, because each pair is unique. Besides, we aim to achieve the maximum in terms of quality and endurance. These are not sandals one only wears a single summer. Women tend to wear them on the following one too, until they grow old and become even more beautiful as they carry the memories of one’s vacations," says designer Christina Martini.


Ancient Greek Sandals from geckomedia on Vimeo.


She did not only manage to realize her idea, but soon after that her sandals started selling briskly in stores in New York and London. Among their keenest fans are Hollywood stars like Sarah Jessica Parker, Naomi Watts, Emma Watson, Reese Witherspoon, pop stars Beyonce and Rihanna, model Gisele Bundchen and even the daughter of David and Victoria Beckham, Harper.

Her sandals were on the feet of the priestesses who performed the ceremony of lighting the Olympic flame.

Besides, Martini has inspired other Greek and foreign designers to create sandal collections bearing names borrowed from ancient Greek mythology, modern Greek toponyms or names of plants and flowers.

This was how the leather brand Isapera was born, with the name being at Latinised version of the Greek expression ισα πέρα (straight ahead). It was created by designer Melissa Metaxa, which, like Martini, has spent many years looking for creative ways to revisit the traditional Greek sandals.

Today she is selling them at boutiques on the island of Mykonos and Athens as well as through e-commerce sites like Every model is accompanied by a snapshot of a summer Greek landscape: blue seas, part of a boat, a whitewashed wall, etc. A number of models are decorated with modern details as pony hairs or an artificial replica of leopard or python skin.

Behind the Cyclades Sandalia brand actually stands Frenchwoman Florence Jugand who spends her summers on Syros. Together with her Greek husband, she opened an eponymous boutique on the island. What she sells there are sandals based on her own models and manufactured by craftsmen in Athens. Their typical features include the outstandingly soft leather used and the gentle colours within a natural gamut.

The designer of Greek descent Valia Gabriel launched her sandal collection three years ago. Even though she lives on the Bahamas, the Valia Gabriel-branded sandals are manufactured in Greece. They are decorated with ancient Greek elements, dyed in modern earthy hues, and are also favoured by a plethora of film starts. E.g. Cameron Diaz used to wear her swimming suit and a pair of Valia Gabriel sandals during her breaks while filming The Other Woman on the Bahamas.

Tags: Economy companies Greek sandals fashion chic designers
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