ELLI Couture

ELLI Couture

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Thanks to the collaboration with the French company Méphistophélès  Productions, during Paris Fashion Week, we managed to incorporate, for the first time ever, several Greek elements in our shows.

ELLI Couture

In July 2019, we presented the show of the emerging Cretan designer, Elli Lyraraki: a collection of unique shoes, created using traditional techniques of the 16th century, the uninterrupted thread of the Labyrinth and the representations of the renowned frescoes of Knossos. When investing in such show, literally an act of cultural diplomacy, we are very interested in making sure that foreign journalists fully understand our history. We had also prepared a trilingual booklet in order to explain to the foreign guests the essential information; for instance, what is the Taurokathapsia (bull leaping) and why the bull was not killed. We even provided explanations on Linear B. People, especially in Paris, have a wide experience on and knowledge of the Greek civilization, so they are able to understand what I do on a deeper level, and they enjoy it.

This is what I mean when I say that when someone is initiated in the Greek civilization they can set themselves free from the disorder of modern “values”, from the reign of competition and cruelty. The Greek antiquity is a matter of esthetic value. France honors it and that is why the first pair of shoes shown was “La Parisienne”, from the famous fresco of Knossos. It is clear that, when my intention is to present these concepts in shows, I am irrevocably identified with opinions such the ones expressed by Melina Merkouri. 

Thus, I asked for the rights of the cd “Playing with Melina’’, and under the hospices of the Melina Merkouri Foundation, I had Melina’s voice speaking on our inalienable cultural trait, our civilization, heard over the music playing. It was a truly emotional moment to listen to her saying during the show at France –Amériques, before 700 journalists from all over the world: “Greece is its civilization. This is its asset and without it, we are nobody!” The finale was indeed heartwarming: Elli came, and above the sound of the applause, Melina’s voice was heard saying, “I want to see Greece to move forward”. It was an idea that impressed and stroke a chord with people. I believed that we could revive her memory through our show, so that the foreign journalists honor the Greek civilization through her voice; and that was exactly the case. I wanted her to come alive again.

Furthermore, Elli Lyraraki introduced us to her new couture collection Alagonia which includes 15 pairs of numbered handmade shoes, inspired by the Minoan civilization, the most ancient European civilization, and more particularly from the world renowned frescoes of Knossos.
Respective research for the collection was completed in collaboration with the archaeologist Ioanna Kalypso Glypti, as well as with artisans who had thoroughly studied techniques used during the 16th century, based on traditional embroidery techniques for handmade traditional Cretan garments, and the famous uninterrupted thread, which cannot be cut.

Moreover, she worked together with specialized painters who applied the batik technique of wax-resist dyeing on silk, used for the first time on shoes. In addition, silversmiths and goldsmiths created gold jewelry using precious and semi-precious gemstones that were attached on the shoes, as well as the jewelry collections accompanying the shoes. 
Among the jewelry suggested, we may see the Gold Bee, which is currently hosted at the British Museum: its eyes are made from rubies for the sandals, from black brillants for the earrings and from emeralds for the necklace.
The bull is made of gold and lapis lazuli, a gemstone used by the Minoans themselves!

The collection is completed with pure silk foulards painted through the batik on silk technique. 
Each pair of shoes is coupled with a handmade silk pouch, inspired by the vourgali, a typically Cretan type of textile bag, where it is embroidered, with an uninterrupted thread, the symbol of Alagonia, a small flower appearing on the Knossos frescoes.

Shop Elli’s Collectible shoes at www.ellilyraraki.com