Fashion Forward Spring/Summer 2009 in Thessaloniki, Greece. By Glenn Belverio

Above: "Is this show almost over? If I'm not back at Mount Olympus by 8, Hera will smite me." A Greek god is summoned to 50 Years of Italian Fashion in Thessaloniki.

Dear Shaded Viewers,

Around two weeks ago I attended Fashion Forward fashion week in sunny and charming Thessaloniki, Greece. While mostly Greek designers graced the catwalk, international flair was added with collections from Serbia, Mexico, South Africa, Russia, et al, as well as an exhibition and mammoth runway show that paid homage to Italian designers. So whether you worshipped Zeus or Jupiter, Aphrodite or Venus (or were just a godless post-Soviet bloc capitalist) there was something for everyone. Here are some of the highlights.

Pari Masouraki

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The gypsy style of this collection was inspired by Romani punk band Gogol Bordello. Their music, including the song "Wear Purple for Me," played on the show's entire soundtrack. I thought it was super. "I wanted an ethereal and tough figure, multi-colored and dark, for everywhere and nowhere," Masouraki says of the collection. I definitely need more things to wear to nowhere–heaven knows I go there all the time. I'm serious!


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Someone call Homeland Security–the women of planet Venus are invading Earth! I had a total hardon for this show, mainly because I'm a sucker for '50s sci-fi. The burlesque music on the soundtrack was the perfect accent. Trying to get more photos from this one–the bullet bra looks were to die for. The designer, by the way, is a veteran of the Greek fashion world–he opened his first shop in Athens in 1970. Imagine what Athens must have been like in 1970! Gritty, decadent, and divoon, I'm sure.

50 Years of Italian Fashion

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Look at all those marvelous gowns swirling around. The life of the average Mediterranean woman, wearing nothing but long diaphanous gowns every day, all the time. Oh, the langour…it must be divine. Lounging on the decks of their yachts off the coast of Capri or Mykonos, sipping iced limoncello and ouzou-tinis. Making the male deckhands, nude and glistening with olive oil, wrestle for their amusement. How I envy this very realistic lifestyle.

Above: After the show, things got a little awkward when two fashion models accidentally wandered into the Thessaloniki Gay Sauna.


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How can you not love a collection whose muse is punk poet Patti Smith? Designer Konstantinos Tsigaros was inspired by two photos of Smith–one of her onstage from her recent tour and the Mapplethorpe photo from the cover of the 1975 album Horses. Of course I cannot resist quoting my friend Camille Paglia regarding this iconic photo: "It was the most electrifiying image I had ever seen of a woman of my generation," she wrote in a 1996 essay that appeared in Civilization magazine. "Now, two decades later, I think that it ranks in art history among a half-dozen supreme images of modern woman since the French Revolution."

Tsigaros had this to say about his Spring 2009 collection: "Entering the Dark New Generation that builds bridges between past and future, we initiate our rock journey. Playing with my favorite black, using as details zippers, big buttons and by escaping from convention, I offer a boost in the casual everyday wear." Compared to the over proliferation of long '70s goddess gowns at Fashion Forward, I thought this collection was pretty modern. I also loved the punky booties.

Fashion shows are all about waiting, waiting, waiting: Me in the front row.



Above: Thessaloniki's eerie TV tower outside Helexpo where the shows were held.

Angels PR Director, Katerina Proshutiskaya from Moscow, enjoys the view from the TV tower's revolving cocktail lounge.

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Above: Andria Ignatiou, who owns a clothing shop in Cyprus, outside Helexpo in the beer garden. She reminded me of a young, "Stage Door"-era Lucille Ball. The name of her shop is Boucle Boucle, which means "curly curly" in Greek, like her hair.

The hoity-toity collided with the hoi polloi outside Helexpo. I found it amusing to walk out of an invite-only fashion show only to be immediately plunged into the middle of a hot dog, souvlaki, and beer garden where huge crowds of working-class Greeks were chowing and chugging. Our Puccis and Guccis reeked of char-broiled smoke but I didn't mind–there was no champagne at the shows so I made due with a few draught dark beers. Slurp!


One afternoon, after a morning of visiting designers at their ateliers, Andria and her friend Dora–a makeup artist from Cyprus originally from Thessaloniki–took me to an outdoor Ouzouria for some sinfully delicious Greek food: shrimp smothered in a tomato-based sauce, mushrooms in mustard sauce, mountains of Greek salad, a cavalcade of cheeses and olives, stuffed vine leaves, stuffed potatoes, and of course, strong shots of ouzou to wash it all down. I forgot to take photos of the dishes because I was starving and too busy stuffing my face–sorry!

Above: Andria negotiates the unwieldy menu, which was longer than Atlas Shrugged.

Ouzou time!

Thanks for reading!

Glenn Belverio