Sophia Kokosalaki is the 30-year-old designer on whom London pins its hope for the next talent who will rise up and fly internationally. What’s brought her to this point is her strong but feminine style, the coherence of her collections and her faithfulness to her cultural roots. Some see the Greek designer as the brainy blood sister of Hussein Chalayan, Nicolas Ghesquière and Helmut Lang, in terms of both her sensibility and her loner instincts.
Just as important as the girl’s intellectual credibility, though, is the fact that she has evolved a signature dressa piece with that elusive quality that makes it stand out in a store. The Kokosalaki dress has a slightly raised waist with something intriguing and handcrafted going on in the bodice. She’s been working at it over the years, making it better and more refinedand this season much sexieras she goes. Her killer summer frock is in whittled-away black jersey, fastened to the body by a fine spiderweb of silken chain stitch that traces a pattern on the naked skin.
That dress and close variations on it form the center of a collection inspired, the designer says, by Byzantine artspecifically dusty terra-cottas and faded teals, glowing metallic mosaics and one-dimensional images of drapery. These she translated into swirly cutouts on suede, dresses embedded with smoky Swarovski crystal and tiny mirrors, and flattened trapunto embroidery. From modern Greece, Kokosalaki took the votive tin images of hearts, babies and eyes used by Orthodox worshipers and applied them to a suede vest.
Was it a departure collection? Conceptually, no. Rather than let the pressure of attention push her into grand theatrics, Kokosalaki opted to stick to her chosen path. Which is exactly the quality of independence likely to get her therewherever there isin the end.