London Art Spot: Eliana Dimitrakopoulou

With an MA in Fashion Design and Technology under her (probably fur) belt, Greek designer Eliana Dimitrakopoulou has big plans to revolutionise the use of fur in fashion as the world knows it. Her latest collection shown in the photos throughout her interview has been influenced by different types of monkeys, staying in touch with nature and the idea of evolution.

Eliana was born in Thessaloniki in 1984 and completed a BA at the Institute of Fashion Design and Technology there before moving to Kastoria for three years. There, she worked for a company called Vito Ponti as a fur designer. Second prize winner in the MIFUR Remix design contest in 2005 for Greece, she currently represents the UK for this year’s contest in Milan. Eliana has just completed her studies at the London College of Fashion.

She talks to us for this week’s London Art Spot about her ideas behind this collection, gives us her answer to activists who fight against the use of fur in fashion and tells us which (non-fur) trends will be hitting London’s streets for summer.

LLO: How does living in London influence your creativity?
ED: 
In London there are no fashion limits or a special style followed – like in Italy. It’s the place that all different styles can evolve and any designer can express their ideas.

Photographer: Michael Addison
Stylist: Anna Szanto
Stylist assistant: Sinead Isabella Iqbal
Model: Cyan Cheung
Hair and Make-Up Artist: Monica Rossi

LLO: Tell us a bit about your collection “The Origins of Fur”. I hear it’s influenced by monkeys and the theory of evolution?
ED: 
Based on both natural and sexual selection, my collection of reversible fur garments represents evolution, the adaption to the environment. By selecting different types of monkeys, I created a link between them and the contemporary fur design applied to my market needs. Inspired by the monkey’s shapes, colours, lines and acting, I was driven into connections with design and fashion. Man has come a long way over the last few millennia, but we’re definitely still part of nature; a monkey. My collection was sponsored by Kopenhagen Furs in Denmark and British Fur Federation.

Photographer: Michael Addison
Stylist: Anna Szanto
Stylist assistant: Sinead Isabella Iqbal
Model: Cyan Cheung
Hair and Make-Up Artist: Monica Rossi

LLO: Colour plays a large role in your fur pieces and they are also reversible. What sort of working process do you go through until you feel you’ve got the look that you want?
ED:
 Before making fur garments we send most of the pieces to CIPEL, a professional fur tannery in France. After I received samples of its colour, we proceed to the rest of them.

LLO: Who is your target customer for these pieces?
ED:
 My client is every woman who loves fur, feels unique and is aware that the only way to feel happy and content is to accept herself as is. She is a woman who doesn’t feel any complex to express her beauty or sexuality. Women who are usually dressed by the Italian fashion houses of Versace, Dolce & Gabbana, and Roberto Cavalli. They love garments that reflect power, luxury, beauty, elegance, sexuality, and a fresh new fashion style. Russia and Italy are the major markets that this collection is designed for.

Photographer: Ana Barreira
Hair&Make-up: Nelson Catarino

LLO: How do you respond to the viewpoint that wearing real fur is wrong or controversial?
ED:
 Fur is beautiful, sustainable, warm, soft, elegant, glamorous and sexy; in other words everything a woman wants. There is nothing wrong in using fur. Animals are farmed under international regulations and there is no cruelty involved. Many videos are made on purpose by activists. It’s true that an animal should be farmed and have a good life so that the fur of it is healthy and rich.

LLO: What other London-based designers do you admire?
ED:
I used to be a great fan of McQueen. He always was an inspiration for me as for many other designers as well.

Photographer: Ana Barreira
Hair&Make-up: Nelson Catarino

LLO: How do you ideally see your future in fashion unfolding over the next five years or so?
ED:
My future plan is to dedicate in fur and work in the fur industry as I did the past three years, but my mind is set on revolutionising fur design as we know it today.

LLO: Coming from Greece, where in London do you go to get the best taste of home?
ED:
In my friends hearts! It was a great surprise for me to meet people from other countries, having so common interests.

LLO: What other London-based designers do you admire?
ED:
I used to be a great fan of McQueen. He always was an inspiration for me as for many other designers as well.

LLO: What fashion trends should we keep an eye open for in London this summer?
ED:
Jeans over jeans and there’s a cowboy influence as well coming up.

LLO: Where can we see more of your work?
ED:
In Russia! I used to work for three years in a fur company. All my fur pieces are exported there.

Thanks Eliana!

For more of Eliana’s work: www.arts.ac.uk/showtime/ElianaDimitrakopoulou

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