Held earlier this month in London, the cultural event “Contemporary Minoans: Cretan culture, source of inspiration”, saw renowned academics, artists, and designers, gather to honor fashion designer Sophia Kokosalaki.
Organized at the initiative of Cultural Organisation Branding Heritage (BH) Sought to further explore how the Minoans, the first European civilization, inspires creativity even to this day. Conducted with the support of the Region of Crete and the Greek National Tourism Organisation (GNTO) UK & Ireland, the stunning gathering saw GNTO President Angela Gerekou, BH Founder Katerina Frentzou, and other cultural stakeholders paying tribute to Kokosalaki and her vision. of Minoan magnificence brought forward in contemporary fashion.
Sophia Kokosalaki, who passed away unexpectedly in October, was a creative genius of Cretan origin, who made real a dream of Minoan magnificence brought forward in contemporary fashion. Among those in attendance were the contributing editor at Vogue UK Harriet Quick (at left) and Chief critic Voguerunway Sarah Mower MBE, British Fashion Council Ambassador for Emerging Talent, and legendary British journalist and fashion critic, International Vogue Editor Suzy Menkes OBE, who was an ardent enthusiast of Kokosalaki’s work. Mower even reminisced about how when she first saw her clothes, memories came to of her first visit to Crete when she was a child.
“Sofia had a modern Cretan identity, she knew how to unite the past with the present in a unique way.”
Joining the family of Ms. Kokosalaki at the Contemporary Minoans event, were the renowned Greek designer Mary Katrantzou, Knossos Palace painter Yiannis Politis, Professor of Aegean Studies, Classics and Ancient History at the University of Bristol Nicoletta Momigliano, Maze designer Adrian Fisher, Lecturer of Aegean Prehistory at Venice Ca’ Foscari University Ilaria Caloi, Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Birmingham Diana Wardle, Archaeologist and Founder of Minoan Tastes Dr. Jerolyn Morisson, Ceramicist Lilah Clarke, and many more distinguished guests.
In addition, the head of Picasso Administration Claude Picasso sent a message from New York about his father’s Pablo Picasso creative inspiration from the Minotaur, as well as his personal experience of Crete:
“This island full of millennials old culture and history. I hold a special memory of a trip we took with our friend, Yannis and Efi Sakellarakis. We went visiting the Archanes excavation. I also remember the Lasithi plateau were we feasted on the most delicious meal in the whole world. The archaeological sites of astonishing beauty; the heartwarming hospitality of kind and spirited Cretans; the ubiquitous ancient culture; they are all forever kept in my memories of Crete.”
The multifaceted Contemporary Minoans gathering was moderated by BH Expert and Managing Partner at Militos S.A. Olga Stavropoulou. The Founder of Rainbowwave Maria Lemos (below) curated the BH exhibition at the Museum.
Creative discussion followed the main event, as did a musical performance by Cretan Nikos Ziarkas, and London band Cretan Music from Hell. The unique artworks of the Branding Heritage Minoan Collection from European artists including Alekos Fassianos, Lilah Clarke, Loukia Orfanou and Tereza Valavani and designers, including fashion designers Mary Katrantzou, Marios Schwab, Faye Chatzi, fashion brands Ergon Mykonos and The Artians, jewel designer Polina Ellis, textile designers Alexandra Bissa and Maria Sigma Textiles, maze designer Adrian Fisher.
Researcher and archaeologist Diana Wardle also presented a reconstruction of ancient clothes. Creations by Sophia Kokosalaki had a special place in the event and included the jewel (silver necklace) inspired by models of thin-bladed votive swords from Arkalochori Cave, 1700-1450 BC (exhibit of Heraklion Archaeological Museum) that she made last year especially for the BH Minoan Collection.
Also featured was a live workshop reproducing the ancient technique of weaving on the loom by Maria Sigma Textiles, a young Greek weaver who keeps the art of the loom alive in London.