LONDON: THAT'S ALL, FOLKS THE LONDON SHOWS CLOSED WITH A GREEK-INSPIRED PERFORMANCE BY SOPHIA KOKOSALAKI, WHILE HUSSEIN CHALAYAN'S COLLECTION GOT SMASHED--LITERALLY.
Sophia Kokosalaki: In the past three seasons, she has made a hit with her hip looks inspired by her native Greece. Kokosalaki stayed on that path for spring 2001 and came up with one of the best shows of the London season. While the designer's draped and fringed styles fit in perfectly with the Eighties mood that's been all over London, she avoided the mistake made by many of her peers by simply nodding to the past rather than traveling back in time. The collection bore her own stamp, emphasizing leather in the form of patchwork tops, slim pants, skirts and fringed waistcoats; silk tulle tops and skirts with patches of leather or cotton and fringe, and softly draped, jersey or tulle skirts, dresses and tops. The colors were earth tones, with the occasional flash of bright green or blush pink. Folk touches appeared in the form of wrapped leather belts or wide straps cinching the ankles of leather pants. But Kokosalaki recognizes that, while a little bit of Grecian formula is fine, too much can be damaging. The designer got a master's degree in fashion from Central Saint Martins two years ago, after obtaining a literature degree in Athens. Her previous collections have been bought by the likes of Henri Bendel in New York, Joseph and Browns Focus. "I always knew I'd do fashion, but five years of studying it is too long," she said. "I wanted to do my own collection because I didn't think that anyone would hire me." She's wrong about that. Ruffo has signed her up to do both the women's and men's collections for its Ruffo Research line, which she'll show during the Milan collections. But it's easy to see why the company was impressed with this relative newcomer when she talks about the need to balance the avant-garde and the commercial. "I like to experiment with new ideas but also to do some classic pieces," Kokosalaki said. "I don't want things to look too overdesigned. Being too experimental can be death."
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