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GFW19: Meet Eleftheria Stylianou, the designer who's abandoned canvas for blazers

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Graduate Fashion Week 2019 has come to a close, but the celebrations aren’t over yet - we’ve been catching up with the designers behind some of our favourite collections. In this piece, we're taking to Eleftheria Stylianou. 

Eleftheria has known that her destiny involved art since she was a child, but it wasn’t until later on that she realised her talent and passion was more at home on fabric than on paper.

She says: “After completing a year of studies I realised that my ultimate goal was not to become just an artist, but to be able to combine my talent with fashion. I always loved fashion and the idea to be able to design your own clothes, so as soon as I started the course I knew that this was the right path for me - and then I could incorporate my illustrations into prints for my own designs.”

Image credit: Eleftheria Stylianou

Eleftheria’s collection at Graduate Fashion Week 2019 did just that: her lingerie-inspired pieces are rigid structures replete with straps, hook-and-eye fastenings, multiple layers, and clean lines. Paper bag-waisted trousers are pleated to perfection and sleeves are deconstructed and reconstructed with utmost precision.  

Add khaki to the equation and it’s a collection that could risk becoming too military, but it’s Eleftheria’s talent as a painter which adds a whimsical, spontaneous aspect to her designs. Brush strokes and outlines of bodies painted in shades of rosewood and cerulean are compelling against the green and provide curves and humanity to the aforementioned rigidity, striking the perfect balance between softness and strength.  

Eleftheria at GFW19 // Image credit: Eleftheria Stylianou

There really is just so much attention to detail in these pieces, with everything having a significance.

Eleftheria says: “My collection was firstly inspired by lingerie and the way you could [fit] them to make actual garments.

"This is the reason all my collection has the detail of the hook and eye tape used on bras. For the silhouette I looked into cabaret - Moulin Rouge, burlesque - and this is where my prints came from. I was inspired [by] the movement of the dancers, the body language, and the female body and I created my own paintings from first-hand pictures I took. I wanted to challenge myself and by combining all the female aspects with a menswear design inspiration from the 1930s I made my collection. The blazers I made are all designed to bring (out) the feminine side of a menswear garment.”

Again, she strikes a perfect balance - and it’s not surprising; she’s been building up to this moment for a long time: “I started doing the fashion design course with the dream of being selected to present my final collection at Graduate Fashion Week," she says. "Seeing your collection on the runway makes you feel proud of yourself. All of the stress, the hard word; the sleepless nights are all finally worth it. In those moments your collection is on the runway you think of all of the work behind it and how it started to get to the final result.  No one could get into your shoes and know what you have been through in order to have it on that stage, so the satisfaction you feel cannot be described.”

Image credit: Eleftheria Stylianou

So now that she’s achieved her dream, what’s next? Has London captured her heart, or does she plan to take her designs back to her home, Cyprus?

“My ultimate goal is to be able to combine my love of painting with fashion. I would love to design my own prints and incorporate them into my designs. I do not know yet if I am going to stay in the UK or go back home. It always depends [on] the opportunities I will have and what will be the best for me in order to start my career as a fashion designer."

Image credit: Eleftheria Stylianou

With such a rational outlook and her career off to a pretty great start, we’ve no doubt that wherever she ends up Eleftheria’s future in fashion looks bright.

Find more interviews and GFW19 coverage here.

You can follow Eleftheria on Instagram here.

Lead image: Eleftheria Stylianou




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