Sophia Kokosalaki is a widely-admired Greek clothing designer. She made a name for herself after bringing a Grecian spin, stunning draperies, elements, and balancing it with a contemporary feminine look to create her own style. After moving to London for education, she weaved her way to becoming one of the most prominent designers of her generation.
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Early Life and Family
Sophia Kokosalaki was born on November 3, 1973, in Athens, Greece. Her mother, Stella Leonidaki, was a journalist, while her father, Vasilios Kokosalaki, was a civil engineer. Her first dream was to be a writer and took up a degree in Greek and English literature at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens. However, she admitted that she already had a heart for fashion. At an early age, she drew clothing sketches and paid ample attention to the way people dress.
The internal call and desire for fashion triumphed, and Kokosalaki soon found herself in London. She studied at the Central Saint Martins College, a renowned school for arts and design, which have produced some of the most notable designers in the industry.
Kokosalaki made her debut in 1999. Her first women’s wear collection was featured in the London Fashion Week. Since then, Kokosalaki’s style was conspicuous, characterized by plissé fabric, handcrafted elements, and artful draperies, which soon became signature.
In 2002, she served as a guest designer for Ruffo Research, an Italian leather house, where she contributed to various collections. A year after, she won the New Generation Designer title at Britain’s Fashion Awards and received the Art Foundation Award for Fashion and the Elle Designer award.
However, the veritable consecration to her name occurred in 2004 when she was chosen to be the head designer of the 2004 Summer Olympics. Her role included supervising all customers for the officials, teams, opening, and closing ceremonies. It was a momentous event for the country, as it signaled the return of the games in Greece, where it originated and revived in 1896. Kokosalaki dressed over 7,000 participants, showcasing different Greek periods, and Grecian culture and arts.
Since then, Kokosalaki continued to establish her presence as a renowned designer and cement her style status. In 2006, she collaborated with Linda Farrow, a sunglasses and eyewear designer, hailing from the ’70s. It was only the start, as the two partnered with several more after the initial project.
In July of the same year, Kokosalaki was chosen to spearhead French fashion house Vionnet’s resurgence. Her innate creativity with fabric and love of draperies was deemed an ideal match with the house’s style. Soon, her first collection for the fashion house was featured in Vogue. However, she left in 2007 to focus on her own label.
In 2010, Kokosalaki became Diesel Black Gold Label’s head designer. In this stint, she incorporated her style and geared towards mass production of the products, and provided it with a sleek commercial charm, shifting away from its usual expensive and time-labored work.
Kokosalaki never ran out of talent and ideas. In 2012, she started a cheaper line, Kore, and a bridal collection. Three years later, she can be seen designing Aegean Airlines’ cabin crew uniforms, and in 2017, she also ventured into fine jewelry.
Kokosalaki proved to be a dynamic designer who made a name for herself in the ever-changing fashion world. She used soft-flowing, ancient patterns from her Greek heritage, classical draperies, creative fabrics, and added a touch of sexy and rock sensibility, giving her unmistakable signature style. Kokosalaki died due to cancer on October 23, 2019, leaving her husband and daughter. Nevertheless, she left a lasting mark, and she will forever be admired as one of the greatest designers of her generation.