Fashion Designer Maria Tagalou was born in Athens. She grew up in an environment where colours and designs were abundant as both her parents are painters. This is what drove her artistic nature to be expressed and developed from a very young age. Painting has been part of her life from an early age, however, her inclination was fashion design which she started developing at the age of 8 when she had her very first contact with it and inspired by painting books and magazines created her first colourful designs. After her studies in Fashion she took her first steps in Vassilis Zoulias Fashion Studio. She has worked as a theatre costume designer and has had her creations exhibited in many different exhibitions and published in renowned magazines such as the Canadian magazine “Press in Fashion”, New York magazine “Seven” and the online edition of “VOGUE IT”. In 2013 she was awarded the “Mercedes-Benz Fashion Award Greece for innovation and top aesthetic” for the New Designers Awards of the 13th Mercedes-Benz Athens Xclusive Designers Week.
Today she is “writing” on La Grèce J’aime about her inspiration.
I’m inspired from life itself. To get inspiration from life, you need to be ready to accept change. You need to be ready to say “I want to change”. It means feeling the desire to deny who you are. Life itself is an endless source of stimulus. A moment of inspiration can come from a melody, a work of art, a passerby’s smile, a movie character or even a cloudy Athenian morning.
I believe that style is tightly connected to one’s personality. It’s the individual’s ability to show off their personality through fashion choices without having to express themselves in words.
My latest collection is clearly inspired by characters from Tim Burton’s fairytales. It’s been characterized as a fairylike collection, however besides what’s obvious there is always a dose of drama. Vivid colours, surrealistic forms, petticoat underskirts with colourful ribbons let the viewer hang in a sweet melancholy. If there is anything that makes my work different, it is my art-orientated education since I’ve grown up in a family of artists. That immediately differentiates me as I have a more artistic view on fashion and my creations.
The woman wearing my creations is my worst rival. There is constant conflict between us! She is a woman who is romantic and dreams a lot while at the same time being confident and with no taboos as far as fashion is concerned. I myself had lots of taboos before taking to fashion. I used to be a modest girl with a rather indifferent style who finally managed to express her passion through the ‘creation’ of an Avant Garde woman wearing inspired clothing.
I’ve been admiring Alexander McQueen ever since I can remember myself. I first put my hands on a Vogue magazine at the age of 8 and whenever I saw one of his pieces, even without knowing they were his, I couldn’t take my eyes off them.
If I were asked how easy it is for a Greek designer to compete foreign ones, I would answer that it is as easy as it is for a foreign designer to compete a Greek one. There are many great designers in Greece who have also won recognition abroad. The problem is that it is in our nature to be a bit chaotic as far as organization is concerned. When abroad I didn’t see Fashion Houses that were more creative than the Greek ones, I saw Fashion Houses with a good structure and consistent quality work.
I traveled to Germany where fashion is relatively confined to minimal, futuristic, classic casual forms which is justified to a point due to the lack of light and the sea. The way we dress always has to do with where we come from and the climate of the area. Berlins were surprised with my volume theatrical clothes and that worked to my advantage. It actually helped me get in touch with people who whatever their nationality persuaded me to work mostly abroad as the international market is more developed and ready to accept my artistic fashion.
There was a time that I didn’t love Greece. I fell for it during my stay abroad. That’s when I appreciated what is abundant in Greece: light, sea, smells, culture. What I love about Greece is a huge puzzle of pictures. Pictures coming from life, collected one after the other through time and indelibly impressed on my memory.
I refuse to put myself into answering a reality called recession that is there to put a curb on the youngsters’ passion. Recession is a reality but I’m not going to analyze its pros and cons. It has nothing to do with scorning; it’s more of a personal attitude to life.
What makes me optimistic differs in time. Lately, I’ve been very happy to be drawing conclusions from my own personal experiences. What I mean is that I find solutions to problematic situations which makes me 100% optimistic and more content than anything else!
As a young designer what I long for is to make the Greek audience see clothing through a different perspective. A rather hard goal to achieve that may even take a lifetime!You can find more info on Maria’s work on Maria Tagalou Facebook page.