After devoting an entire year to designing the costumes for 7,000 of her Greek compatriots for the Athens Olympics opening ceremonies, it's astonishing that Sophia Kokosalaki had the stamina to even think of a theme for her own collectionlet alone produce it. But this resourceful young woman not only came up with a themethe sea and all its contentsshe made it her Paris debut.
Not surprisingly, the collection contained some reminders of Kokosalaki's Olympics work, opening with a bunchily rippled blue-painted wave dress reminiscent of the stadium-scaled gown she made for Björk. There were bodices textured like the insides of shells, shoulders sprouting anemone-like fronds, and silk-jersey seaweed pieces in watery blue and palest pink.
Still, a theme only counts for so much. What really registers is recognizable continuity in a designer's vision, and Kokosalaki wisely concentrated on her strength in dresses. She emphasized her signature draping, in corded pleats that ran over the bodices of jersey dresses; the best, in pink with a scooped back. The glittering ripples of sun on wet sand appeared as gold beading on skirts or on glinting belts and cummerbunds.
It was an ambitious effort for Kokosalaki's first show outside her adopted London. The squeezed schedule and multiple demands no doubt took their toll on the technical execution, which didn't achieve the complexity her designs demand. To fully realize her talent, Kokosalaki needs time and investment; perhaps the exposure of Paris will capture the attention she deserves.