Couturier Aristides Tzonevrakis Bridges Tradition and Modernity
Sometimes, our true calling comes to us unexpectedly. Such is the case with Zeus + Dione collaborator Aristides Tzonevrakis whose passion for traditional Greek dressmaking and embroidery was sparked when he encountered the Peloponnesian Folklore Foundation’s folk costume collection. Eager to learn the art, he worked as an apprentice by the side of Kostas Gkikas, whose skills go back to the Ottoman-era Greek tailors who used to travel the land to sew and decorate their patrons’ costumes with their own embroideries, oftentimes staying in with them for up to one or two months. Fast forward four years later and an intensive course in dressmaking, and Aristides opened his own workshop in Argos in 2006. Combining traditional craftsmanship with new techniques, and drawing inspiration from regional costumes across the country, the masterfully hand-sewn garments he creates are not just intended for folk dance troupes, theatrical productions and carnivals, but also make for extraordinary contemporary dresses and wedding gowns. Since 2013, Aristides’ unique embroideries have been featured in Zeus + Dione’s collections, adorning pieces such as vests, chemises, caftans and belts. The collaboration, part of the fashion house’s initiative to support local artisans and celebrate traditional crafts, exemplifies how folk culture need not be limited to only museums and books, but can creatively be used to inspire modern fashion and design.
Photography by Sarados Kahrimanis