Financially beleaguered Greece can’t seem to catch a break — but Parisian department store Le Bon Marché is giving two Greek brands founded after the country’s economic crisis a chance to shine with monthlong pop-up shops showcasing apparel and footwear rooted in the nation’s artisanal craftsmanship.
The minimalist white-and-gold tops, dresses and pajamalike ensembles of Zeus+Dione, whose silk fabrics are woven in the city of Soufli, and Ancient Greek Sandals’ fun interpretations of antique styles will be housed in the shop until the end of May. The wood and marble templelike setting was also entirely made in Greece.
Zeus+Dione founders Mareva Grabowski and Dimitra Kolotoura are on a mission to boost creativity in the traditional workshops around the country. “Our inspiration, weirdly enough, was an article in The Economist detailing how skilled craftsmanship in Greece was dying out,” Grabowski said. The collection is priced from 75 euros ($82) for small accessories to 1,040 euros ($1,137) for elaborate embroidered pieces.
Ancient Greek Sandals was founded by Christina Martini, a shoe designer who previously worked at Balenciaga and Pierre Hardy, and Nikolas Minoglou. It offers sandals based on fun interpretations of antique styles, priced from 120 euros ($131) for simple leather styles to 535 euros ($585) for a jeweled model made in collaboration with Lalalounis jewelers. “The concept behind AGS is to design contemporary sandals inspired by Ancient Greece using the traditional techniques,” said Martini, who noted the company is always in search of new sources and young artisans to maintain the tradition of sandal making.
Asked if more Greek artisanal collections will be featured going forward, Le Bon Marché style director Jennifer Cuvillier pointed to several directional jewelry lines already on display. “Certainly next summer will see another wave of Greek brands,” she said.