Michalis Kampourakis: Greek God Reincarnate

Yes yes yes…summer is here – and we muses are loving all that’s beautiful about Greece these days. We hate to brag, but…how can we not? I mean, we’re got it all. Islands, mountains, sea…but the latest beauty to come out of Greece is 24 year old Michalis Kampourakis. With a beauty that won’t quit.

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Born on the island of Rhodes, raised on the island of Kalymnos, Kampourakis left the island life to pursue a Political Science degree in Athens. It’s there, I suppose, he realized that his face could help him go further than a degree (in this economy, and with that face, I mean…come on), and so he started modeling. He started out in Istanbul, did a few editorials in Paris, and now he’s in Milan for a spell. And we can’t wait to see where he’ll pop up next.

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Not unlike Dimitris Alexandrou, Kampourakis had to undergo some serious training and discipline to get him into true Olympic champion shape. He lost a whopping 20 kilos to get him body to look like it does. Some more motivation to keep all of us on track for the summer months. From the work of Errikos Andreou:

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Kampourakis is just another example of the beauty the Greek islands have to offer. Come. Take a look. We can guarantee that you’ll feast your eyes on images that will last a lifetime.

Until soon,

H

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Doma. As In Damir.

Clearly we’re in the middle of summer here in Greece because we can’t seem to do much of anything…hence our lack of regular posts. What can I say? The beach beckons. Today it was cloudy for approximately one hour, so that motivated me to bust out my laptop (which, to be perfectly honest, has been collecting dust). And lo and behold, things happened in the world.  Like Doma being struck down by the US Supreme Court.  This muse couldn’t be happier about that, let me tell you.  Three cheers for civil rights!

But not all Doma’s are shitty.  In fact, there’s even a Doma worthy of celebration.  That is, Damir Doma.  I came across his Resort 2014 collection and just about fell off my ξαπλωστρα (that’s a sunlounger for you non-Greeks). I’m pretty sure Mr. Doma designed these looks especially for me. Not that he has any idea who I am or anything but perhaps he received my telepathic messages. Or perhaps the sun is getting to my head. I’m going to go with the latter. Anyway, here’s a little sampling…

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As if the clothes weren’t enough, Doma’s collaboration with Mykita has resulted in the most glorious collection of round sunglasses I’ve seen.  And you know we’re all going to need a pair of perfectly round sunglasses before this 90s craze is over.

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I want them all.  Now accepting donations…

Until soon,

E

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Renaissance Hipsters

Renaissance sculptures of the human form are startlingly accurate. We get tears and veins and fingernails – it’s truly a humbling experience to walk through any museum that features work from this period. Take these, from a recent wandering to the Gallery Borghese in Rome:

I know I’m not wondering what these guys and gals would look like dressed. But there are people out there who do – like retoucher Alexis Persani and photographer Leo Callard, for instance. I imagine this is what the boys were initially thinking when they launched their “Street Stone” project. Just look:

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Their work is astoundingly meticulous. When I first stumbled upon these photos, I thought: How in the hell do they get those button down shirts on those guys? The answer is photoshop. The only way Renaissance men can wear the classic Ray Bans, Vans and Levi’s, I suppose.

Until soon,

H

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Being Moved By The Ordinary

There is an intense familiarity behind Athens-based photographer Alexis Vasilikos’s photographs that probably has something to do with the fact that he manages to capture the everyday details of life that most of us are too busy to pay much attention to.  His photographs make me realize that I need to slow down and look around.  Because isn’t finding the beauty in the ordinary the whole point?  Not that I claim to be an expert on ‘the point’ or anything, but it’s got to be part of it.  Right?  Anyway, do yourself a favor and have a look at his work and maybe you’ll see what I see.  Or haven’t been seeing, that is.  For more, check out his website.  You won’t be sorry.

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Until soon,

E

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Crazy For Chloe, Wacky For Wang

Is it just me, or are this year’s (well, next year’s if you want to get technical) Resort collections especially lovely?  (And especially belly-baring…but more on that later.) They’re so good that they’re making me a little loopy, in fact.  And while honorable mentions abound—Balenciaga, Giambatista Valli and Lanvin to name a few—I find myself going a particular kind crazy over Chloe and Alexander Wang.  Like, foaming at the mouth, sell my house, car, and possibly my body to acquire some of these pieces crazy.  Am I being overdramatic?  Maybe I just need a vacation.  Good thing these are Resort.  Whatever the case, I present to you a few favorite looks from Alexander Wang…

And Chloe…

Luckily, the more affordable ‘See by Chloe’ collection isn’t half bad either.  Doesn’t even come close to the real thing, but perhaps I won’t have to sell all my worldly possessions after all.

(All photos from style.com)

Until soon,

E

 

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Let There Be Light

It’s summer in the city, and that means heat, skin, long walks, outdoor cinema, ice cream and long days. More light – a good thing in a time when people are feeling dark and annoyed a lot of the time. Enter Beforelight – a group of young, innovative, renegade artists, who have just set up their latest installation right here in Thessaloniki. And their timing couldn’t be better.

What did they do the first time they were here? Oh nothing much. Just collected a bunch of old lighting fixtures and turned one of the oldest parts of the city into a dream. An absolute dream. But don’t take my word for it. Let the photos speak for themselves:

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They just recently had this up in Athens, and people loved it there, as much as they loved it here. Team Beforelight is: Eliza Alexandropoulou, Dimitra Aloutzanidou, Cristina Ampatzidou, Konstantina Evangelou, Kelly Efraimidou, Dimitris Theocharoudis, Maria Lazaridou, Vasilis Ntovros, and Eirini Steirou. They look like this:

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Their own description of what they do is most appropriate here. From their website:

Beforelight conceptualizes, designs, and applies light art and design, in an effort to encourage public collective experience with natural or artificial light. They follow a process that takes light specifically into account, along with the innovative use of old and new lighting devices.

Which brings me to their latest innovation. They’ve measured the width and height of Thessaloniki’s White Tower, and created this on one of our newest squares, Filikis Etairias Street. The installation will be up for the next six months and looks something like this:

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Their play on perspective highlights both the White Tower in all its glory, in addition to the recently renewed public square (one of many streets that have been converted as of late). It highlights our city’s attempt to create spaces people can enjoy on lovely summer nights like this one, without all of the traffic many of us have gotten so very sick of.

Bravo to team Beforelight! We thank you for your energy and dedication to the beautification of Greece’s public spaces. And we look forward to seeing more light in our city’s streets. Light and hope and beauty. Every little bit helps.

Until soon,

H

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Backgammon With Style

We love our backgammon ‘round these parts.  We call it ‘tavli’ and we play it just about everywhere.  Go to the beach—people playing tavli.  Go to the park—pappoudes (that’s ‘grandpas’) playing tavli.  Cafes?  Tavli.  And we Greeks, we’re a lively bunch.   There’s usually a lot of teasing involved and, occasionally, shouting.  I’ve even witnessed a player throwing a board across the room after a particularly frustrating throw of the dice.  It wasn’t me.  I swear…

Just about every home has a board and they come in all different colors and sizes.  Some are pretty plain while others include intricate designs, carvings and pearl inlay.  And then there are these handcrafted boards from Alexandra Llewellyn Design.  Now I’ve seen many boards, but never anything like these beauties.  Perhaps that has something to do with their hefty price tags (we’re talking a whopping 2000 British pounds), but they are truly works of art.  And while I’ll probably never own one, they sure are nice to look at.

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 Sure makes me want to play a round or two…

Until soon,

E

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Fashion + Art = Art + Fashion

What do you get when you juxtapose Gustav Klimt, Vincent Van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, Claude Monet with Jil Sander, Prada, Celine and Mary Katrantzou? Genius. Because if the work of Christos Mouchas doesn’t literally prove that fashion is art, then I don’t know what does. You see, in order to create each piece, he combines two images – one is usually a famous work of art, the other is usually an image of a model on the runway – and makes something totally new and totally different.

Oh, and he’s only 19. Get ready to have your socks knocked off.

Alasdair McLellan X Edward Hopper

Alasdair McLellan X Edward Hopper

Rain 1929 by Louis Marcoussis 1878-1941

Alexander McQueen X Louis Marcoussis

Alexander McQueen X Vasily Polenov

Alexander McQueen X Vasily Polenov

Celine X Albert Oehlen

Celine X Albert Oehlen

Celine X Werner Knaupp

Celine X Werner Knaupp

Christian Dior X Auguste Herbin

Christian Dior X Auguste Herbin

Christian Lacroix Haute Couture X Antoine Watteau

Christian Lacroix Haute Couture X Antoine Watteau

Fendi X Yannis Moralis

Fendi X Yannis Moralis

Givenchy Haute Couture X Gustav Klimt

Givenchy Haute Couture X Gustav Klimt

A Bigger Splash 1967 by David Hockney born 1937

Prada X David Hockney

Prada X Rene Magritte

Prada X Rene Magritte

Proenza Schouler X Kees Goudzwaard

Proenza Schouler X Kees Goudzwaard

Proenza Schouler X Vincent Van Gogh

Proenza Schouler X Vincent Van Gogh

Raf Simons x Vincent Van Gogh

Raf Simons x Vincent Van Gogh

Open Window, Spitalfields 1976-81 by Anthony Eyton born 1923

Willy Vanderperre X Anthony Eyton

Mouchas analyzes a collection’s “references” in order to match artwork to it. But it’s not that simple, really. He claims that “inspiration also stems from the colors of the clothes, the attitude of the show, even its set.” It’s not exclusively the clothes that help him develop ideas, it’s the entire spectacle of runway fashion, of haute couture – a movement in itself –  that often helps define the next project.

Ubicouture, Mouchas’s tumbler page, is where you can find all the work he’s posted over the past year and change. I include a few more incredible pieces, but this young man has a treasure trove of work behind him, and many, many creative years ahead of him. Go there and look.

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In the meantime, we’ll keep an eye on Christos Mouchas. He’s currently in Greece, but going back to school in the UK in September. Plans include work in the fashion industry, and I have no doubt that we’ll be seeing much, much more of him in the future.

Until soon,

H

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Greeks Do It Better: Xylo Eyewear

Turn on the TV in Greece and you hear a lot of bitching and moaning about failing banks, rising taxes, salary cuts and all things miserable.  I chose long ago to turn the TV off.  Yes, Greece is in a deep economic depression.  I don’t need to be reminded of that fact constantly.  And despite what mainstream media might have you think, there are a lot of creative young people making all sorts of wonderful things happen.  Seemingly impossible things, in fact.

Take Perikles Therrios and Eleni Vakondiou for example.  Instead of sitting around complaining about the lack of jobs in Greece or trying to find a way to leave, these two young Greeks from Syros, an island in the middle of the Aegean Sea, came together to create Xylo Eyewear.  They make handcrafted wooden sunglasses that are pretty amazing (‘xylo’ is Greek for ‘wood’, by the way).  Have a look for yourself…

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How’d they get started in the midst of a failing economy, you might ask?  The idea came to them one fine morning—like so many ideas do (and are, unfortunately, promptly abandoned).  The creative spark was so strong, they simply had to follow through.  And they didn’t have buckets full of money or trust funds from their parents.  They turned to crowdfunding through indiegogo to fund their dream.  And they’re making it happen.  Pretty inspiring, if you ask me.  Check out their campaign video and then, if you want to help them achieve their dream (and/or just want a cool pair of unique, handmade wooden sunglasses) check out their page on indiegogo.

Until soon,

E

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So Much More Than Vintage Furniture

The boys at 2objectrepair both love old stuff. And their store in Thessaloniki’s city center is a space that could easily be their home. Memories and images from days of yore compliment modern pieces from the 60’s and 70’s. Restored vintage furniture is arranged in such a way that one gets inspired just visiting the place. They take pride in the process: the finding of the pieces, the refurbishing, the placement, the decor.

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Walking through the store is truly like a trip through time. Though everything is from the past, it feels like each item exactly where it’s supposed to be. It certainly makes me appreciate all the antique pieces I’ve got in my apartment. Here are some of the things they’ve got on display right now:

Some of the pieces are changed so much that we’re only given a vague reminder of what they used to be. Others, like the giant sofa above (1920), are so old it’s crazy. Every piece is unique and exquisite in it’s own right. Certainly placement and interior design has something to do with that.

So much so, that they’ve also been asked to develop various installations for places throughout the city. These are photos from Slag Bar and Lykisskos Bar:

So if you’re ever in town, and talking a stroll through our famous Bit Bazaar (a must-see for anyone visiting), you’ll be close enough to check out the space. Just another one of Thessaloniki’s hidden gems. We have lots of those, you know. 😉

Until soon,

H

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