Pericles Kondylatos likes to defy gravity. In fact, he likes to defy anyone who has ever told him he couldn’t turn doll heads, chandelier fragments, religious icons and other voluminous vintage finds into wearable art. Delivering a lesson in decadent styling, Kondylatos assembled a dream-team of Greek fashion designers, paired them with a Polish-born photographer sporting a complicated past and a Greek-tinged surname and produced a breathtaking series of images that could be perceived as his own version of crisis management: If you still don’t know how to deal with the Greek credit crunch, the best way to do it is head on; preferably dripping in jewels!
Sylwia Makris, a sculptor-turned-photographer best known for inhabiting the twilight space between the classical and the supernatural, put a gothic patina on faces and places, adding a veil of mystery to this exquisitely staged photo shoot. Almost as if they’re on a break from Dante’s Inferno, these shady characters don’t really come from the depths of hell. They’re just wandering the decadent corridors of ‘Faust’, a downtown Athens club so alluring it could even woo a priest into its alcohol-infused womb, ready to go forth and conquer the night.
Kondylatos has created an atmosphere of permanent twilight, merging medieval influences with the ravaged beauty of a bloodthirsty vampire and the shameless exhibitionism of a seasoned burlesque performer. Dita Von Teese and Count Dracula merge in the models’ luminous skin and smoky eyes, accentuated by sculptural bird’s nest updos or backswept hair, hidden under severe top hats. But there’s one element that keeps their otherworldly beauty grounded: Kondylatos’ scandalously over-the-top necklaces. Draped over pale necks and luminous Greek couture, each piece tells a story: some combine doll parts with local flora and fauna, immediately conjuring up images of little girls lost in the woods, while others dig deep into tradition, pairing Greek orthodox icons with silver votives, mixing piousness and sin. Makris’ sharp sense of color and ability to capture emotion create an immediate connection between viewer and subject, drawing you deep into her hallucinatory universe where nothing is as it seems.
MOX NOX (latin: soon it will be night), as this magical photo shoot has been titled, is the perfect showcase for Kondylatos’ luxuriously battered aesthetic, giving him free reign to do what he does best: mix vintage finds with the latest prêt-a-porter Greek fashion. The same modus operandi he likes to use in his own jewelry collections, where handmade beads are complemented by slightly frayed found treasures, celebrating the beauty of imperfection. Whether it provokes dreams or nightmares, this group effort proves that the credit crunch has done nothing to stifle Greek designers’ creativity, as they continue to celebrate their artistry despite adversity, although it has taught them a very valuable lesson: united we stand, divided we fall…