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Folklore Again

An Exhibition | An inspiration

''Modernity is the transient, the fleeting, the contingent; it is one half of art, the other being the eternal and the immovable'' Charles Baudelaire

 

 Folklore is such a dynamic concept. It’s living traditions and cultural expressions of people, groups and cultural archetypes. Tangible and intangible symbols of cultural heritage transferred from generation to generation constituting the expression of cultural identity and historical continuity. On the occasion of the Angeliki Hatzimichali Museum of Folk Art and Tradition “Folklore again” exhibition, at the Melina Cultural Centre in downtown Athens, we were called to revisit a concept that has been at the heart of our brand since the very beginning.

What are those elements that define a nation’s cultural heritage and identity and what do we do to protect them at a time of financial turbulence and technological transformation?

How do we keep young men and women close to home to continue centuries of handcraftsmanship when the alternative is always more appealing?

The day we decided to launch Zeus and Dione as an international 100% Greek brand, we were not only faced with the struggle of placing Greece on the global fashion stage. We had to fight to open the world to – what was until then unknown - Greek folklore, or as we like to say, the full spectrum of Greek heritage.

People tend to connotate the word “Grecian” with ancient Greece, rather than something pertaining to any part of its history. We say “Grecian chic” to insinuate tasteful clothing inspired by the pattern of two pieces of loose garment (anc. chiton and chlamys) draped about the body and adorned with gold jewelry and leather sandals. We are of course no stranger to this source of inspiration. Our brand name embodies the essence of that time. But how can a 100% Greek brand stay true to its defining characteristic if it writes off 2.000 years of Greek history? We say it can’t.

Our decision to start the brand, was a conscious decision to invest in the revival of forgotten crafts. It was about identifying the artisans and old techniques that were about to eclipse and bring them back into fashion. Only by demand could we rejuvenate supply. Only by rediscovering our roots could we create something modern and eternal.

The Folklore, again exhibition offers rare insights into the essence of Greek and international folklore and our brand’s standing in the process. It aims to highlight common cultural points, concepts and symbols through jewelry, painting, everyday objects and 19th-20th century Greek traditional costumes; a rare opportunity to see live how Zeus and Dione revisits Greek heritage elements and transforms them into creations of universal appeal.

“Modernity is the transient, the fleeting, the contingent; it is one half of art, the other being the eternal and the immovable.” Look out for our Sitia Caftan and discover how our creation stands up to this definition.

The Sitia caftan is made from signature Zeus and Dione raw silk, from the historic Silk rearing town of Soufli in northeast Greece. Its neck cut and embroidery pattern are similar to the ones found on the traditional Hasia dress of the homonymous region of northwestern Greece, but the embroidery itself originates from the Peloponnese region in the southwest of the country. Its clean and minimal lines inspired its name from the picturesque town of Sitia in southeast Crete, matching ideally with ancient Greek style leather sandals and gold-plated earrings. As every Zeus and Dione garment, it was weaved, dyed, embroidered and cut by hand to preserve the unparalleled quality and rarity of the traditional production, yet its non-conforming design transcends folk art to create a completely new avant-garde look.

We stand by folklore, again. And again.

By Daphne Prosalika