Regarded as le dernier mot in timeless glamour, Kritharioti couture is instantly synonymous with craftsmanship, femininity, and quality fabrics. So it came as no surprise when, last December, fashion bible Vanity Fair UK named Celia Kritharioti Maison, the oldest fashion house in Greece, one of six couturiers around the world to watch.
SWAROVSKI ELEMENTS are always a priority when I’m making an imposing dress, for their added shine and glitter.
Designer Celia Kritharioti is quick to credit her father as the inspiration for her gift, as well as the legacy of family techniques, which go back over a hundred years. “My father was an excellent manager. We [Celia and designer brother Nikos] named our prêt-à-porter collection ‘5226’ in honor of his date of birth. His motto was ‘Don’t anticipate—enjoy the ride’. I still try to take pleasure in the process.”
When it came to her career, the dye was cast early. “I was born into a fashion house—my sister’s and my dresses were made at the family atelier, and patterns were altered to our taste.” This painstaking method of garment ‘fittings’ remains pivotal to her process. “I prefer using mannequins rather than drawing—I practice ‘moulage’, where the dress is constructed by adding and removing layers.”
Worn by the likes of top models Giselle, Naomi Campbell, Claudia Schiffer, and Karolina Kurkova, her sexy, refined creations are regular fixtures on the catwalk. In January, Golden Globes presenter Giulian Rancic shone in a Celia Kritharioti mink gown, while actress Gemma Arterton’s dazzling one-shoulder number at the 2013 BAFTA Awards was essential Kritharioti.
Celia has earned the lofty moniker of ‘queen of wedding dresses’, with scores of famous Greek brides trusting her to conjure up a divine frock for their unforgettable day. “My most memorable dress was for a London bride that featured 40,000 SWAROVSKI ELEMENTS. She was delighted, which made the work worthwhile!”
So, at what stage does Celia reach for the sparkles? “SWAROVSKI ELEMENTS are always a priority when I’m making an imposing dress, for their added shine and glitter. Or perhaps when a dress is complete, it might need a little extra glow. My ultimate aim is to design garments that honor a woman’s beauty and accentuate the female form.”