In Cyprus's capital Nicosia, everything revolves around walls. Here the 500 year old circular wall that surrounds the Old City with eleven bastion gates that protrude in pentacle-like points – built by the Venetians. Now of course the old city is divided by another wall, the UN buffer zone or green line, that separates the Turkish north from the Greek south. Fashion Week took place at one of the gates into the old city, the Famagusta, in a cavernous subterranean vault. Once out of the show venue, the party was going on above the gate from morning till night overlooking the new town on the other side of the wall. The moat has been converted into strips of green parks, or sometimes (strangely) parking lots.
Ramona Filip is one of the few labels that were, well… relatively speaking, understated at fashion week. For the most part, dressing up in Cyprus is about a lot of ostentation and flashiness (most of those looks I've conveniently left out of this post). The fact that locals love their logos and showing off their purchases means
subtletly is a rare commodity on the island.
Believe it or not, this is actually the Fogal window in the Elefherias district where brands like Louis Vuitton and Fendi have dropped anchor. Everything gets put through a really wild filter here, for better and for worse. Even when strolling down Stasikratous checking out the luxe on offer, you can be suddenly reminded that you're still in a place where conflict has decided the fate of many. The UN patrol is never far away in Nicosia.
While ASVOF is certainly not averse to extravagance, the style scene in Cyprus still tends to be rather blatant. A few other designers did manage to capture an original (or refined) take on the country's mixed heritage where Ottomans, Venetians, Greeks, Arabs and many others have left their aesthetic values over the centuries.
Kika Ioannidou & Complice by Stalo Theodorou
Orsalia Parthenis ( guest designer from Greece) & Calliope – by Elaine Neocleous (British-Cypriot designer from London)
Afroditi Hera, the resident wild child, & Sofia Alexander
Apart from the crafts district of Laiki Geitonia, much of the Greek side of the Old City has been abandoned and is rather quiet. To get a buzz, you have to cross the moat into the new town where commerce is thriving and Nicosia is developing at a rapid pace. Or if you feel adventurous and pluck up a little courage to cross the green line into the Turkish side of city, it's crumbling and lost in time — with some spooky and melancholy charm like this:
But it's also famed for some pretty outrageous and hilarious counterfeit goods in the markets. Anyone for a "Dol-Gab" watch?
On the way back to the other side of the UN checkpoint….