Past blends with present in Avenir Museum collection feature from Greece

Green evening dress from Greece
Striking evening dress with elements inspired by Greek antiquity. Avenir Museum Permanent Collection #2020.08.03

Story by Megan Osborne

Greece is not usually a place that comes to mind when one is thinking of the fashion capitals of the world; Paris, Milan, New York, certainly, but Greece? Though not widely known for contemporary design, Greece has been home to a small but thriving fashion scene dating back to the mid-20th century.

Inspired by antiquity

This dramatic green evening dress is an example of the distinctly Greek take on mid-century fashion. The structure and shape of the dress is quite stiff, made of a thick linen and wool blend. This choice of fabric for the body of the dress calls back to the linen and wool chitons worn by the citizens of ancient Greece. The heavily structured body of the gown is offset by the airy pleated chiffon sleeves. The use of chiffon and the dramatic bell shape of the sleeve were both popular in the 1970s and give the dress a modern feel. The pleated chiffon is continued throughout the design and incorporated into alternating kick panels along the lower third of the dress. The lower section of the gown is also ornamented with Byzantine-inspired embroidery in gold and silver metallic thread.

The gown is a perfect blend of past and present inspiration through the choice of a heavy body fabric and ancient embroidery motifs to the modern design details in the chiffon sleeve and kick panels. The juxtaposition of the heavy and light fabrics and the cut of the swaying sleeve would have created beautiful and eye-catching movement as the wearer moved through the room.

The Greek design team Nikos & Takis created this dress in 1973. The design duo had retail stores throughout the country, though this particular dress was purchased by the donor at their boutique in Delphi.

You can see this dress among the new items in the permanent collection featured in the New Threads exhibit on display now at the Avenir.

The Avenir Museum is in the Department of Design and Merchandising, part of CSU’s College of Health and Human Sciences.