Finally It's Freaking Friday: Designer Profile: Dimitrios Panagiotopoulos

Dimitri has worked for the likes of Jil Sander and Hugo Boss before venturing out on his own in 2007. You can definitely see the influence of his Grecian and Italian roots from his structured yet risky designs. The thing that really captivates me about Dimitri, besides his purposeful use of vibrant colors, is his art of transforming hard pieces by using soft textures.

I first had the pleasure of viewing Dimitri’s collection for Mercedes Benz Zurich Fashion Days and just fell in love with his designs and the way he puts on a show. He has an old-skool show that is so utterly cohesive and refined that it is difficult to distinguish the models as they strut down the runway; there are no distractions. 

A lot of young designers try to emulate Karl Lagerfeld by producing clothing that they think embodies who they are. Not to say that is a bad thing, but I think it’s about time that womenswear designers take a walk in our Jimmy Choos. That is exactly what Dimitri has done. He knows “his girl” and what she would wear to a party, to the office and on a date. He designs for a confident, streetwise, chic and strong lady. Now lets see if he can handle this tough chick, as I grill him on the in’s and out’s of the industry, his opinion on feminism and his flare for fashion.

Lights, camera, ACTION...Finally It’s Freaking Friday!

Jordan: Dimitri, your full name is Dimitrios Panagiotopoulos (say that 3 times fast), does it get under your skin when people mispronounce your name? What’s the etymology? Please tell me you were spawn from Greek Gods. If its not true please tell me anyway.

D.P.: I’m used to it, most of the people cannot pronounce my last name and even for me as a child that was very hard, too. That’s why almost everyone calls me by my first name, Dimitrios.

Dimitrios, is a very common, Greek, male name, the Greek version of the name Demetrius. The name Dimitrios or Dimitris refers to the one born from mother earth.

Jordan: Heavenly. If you tried to explain your collection to some sadly, unaware person who mispronounced your name and wasn't familiar with your fashion line, do you think the aesthetic alone could be described in one word. Like POW! You know like in cartoons when they have the thought bubbles for the actions? What would be your one word to describe your collection? 

D.P. : Hmm, that’s a difficult question! I’m very self-critical and I always think, that I could have done better, but the reaction that I want from the audience after showing my collection is definitely a POW or a WOW! And most of all, feminine and sexy! 

Jordan: On the topic of superheroes, who is one of your fashion superheroes?

D.P. : Definitely Karl Lagerfeld! He is an excellent fashion designer and at the same time a great artist and photographer.

Jordan: Karl Lagerfeld would make a great fashion superhero. He already has a costume. He just needs a cape--made from couture lace or some other unassumingly subtle fabric drenched in Diamantes. Nevertheless, what are some of your favorite trends this season?

Actually, I hate that question. 

I'm not a big fan on trends.

I prefer to ask you--What are some of your go-to-looks. What I mean by that is.. what is that one trick, that one go-to-thing that you love to do?

Like in the 80's, my mom always used to rock stockings under her Gloria Vanderbilt jeans with red snakeskin pumps (I'd be lying if I didn't admit to trying to recreate the look--Epic fail). That was her go-to-look. Anyway, what's your's...?

D.P. : Skinny leather pants or leggings, white shirt and a tweed or blazer jacket and high heels! Clean but great. That’s my kind of go-to-look!

Jordan: That sounds like any 'it girl's' look this season. You have such a respect or admiration, shall I say, for the woman’s body, which comes across in your design aesthetic. Tell us what is the source of your connection with femininity?

D.P. : I simply love the silhouette of the women’s body! Creating women’s clothing is much more fun than men’s clothing because you can play with forms, silhouettes so well. You simply have more opportunities: dresses, skirts…I love creating feminine clothes.

Jordan: I’m sure your Grecian and Italian origins have a big influence on your euphoric use of color and texture in your designs, but what are some other inspirations. Who is your muse?

D.P. : My muse is definitely the Mediterranean woman, very sensual, sophisticated and feminine.
When I design clothes, I often think of strong women such as Monica Bellucci, Bianca Balti etc.

Jordan: Monica Bellucci, definitely embodies a voluptuous woman.
The fashion industry gets a bad rep for glorifying skinny models and not embracing curvier women.
I think both should be represented. There should be a variety of body types on the runway. Albeit, fit and healthy women. What are your views on designers like Eden Miller creating and showing their plus size label at New York Fashion Week? Do you think it is a solution to the problem or that it is creating a divide between women?

D.P. : I don’t think that’s a solution! It was always like this, that’s the fashion business. The only thing you can do is to not book models, which are too skinny or look unhealthy.

Jordan: That's a good individualistic approach to the problem. Did you find it difficult to subside your individuality while working for designers like Jil Sander and Hugo Boss, who have design aesthetics that are more structured and matter-of-fact, or commercial as they say in the biz. Was it difficult for you to hold yourself back from exploring your creativity?

D.P. : No, absolutely not! I’m not that kind of designer, who shows theatrical clothes on the catwalk that no one is able to wear on the streets. My designs are made to wear in everyday life. Ready-to-wear.
Jordan: Cream colored ponies and crisp apple strudels
Doorbells and sleigh bells and schnitzel with noodles
Wild geese that fly with the moon on their wings
These are a few of my favorite things...

What would be the lyrics to your au courant “My Favorite Things”?

D.P. : Pasta, Pizza and Minestrone. Sun, beach and cocktails. Gimme that and I am more than happy!
Jordan: Not to blow smoke up your bum, but your SS14 collection is full of my favs. I’m such a self proclaimed “girly girl” and always fall for texture and color. Silks, chiffon's, satin, and lace. Make it bright tight or white and I’m sold. I also have to admit that I’m a fan of the faux fur in your last winter collection. You do only use faux fur right?

D.P. : Thank you! I have to admit that in my last winter collection I used both faux fur and real fur.
Jordan: In the late 80’s anti-fur protesters threw red paint on women wearing fur in the streets and during fashion weeks. There has been a re-emergence of these tactics with certain protesters today. The Nina Ricci show was bombarded this season by FEMEN the famed Ukrainian feminist chicks (love calling them chicks because I’m sure it gets under their skin) barrage the catwalk, naked with slogans written all over their body. My view on it is, I’m all for feminism, but, if an artist put their efforts, passion, blood, sweat and tears into essentially designing art for people to wear, it’s extremely rude and barbaric to destroy the efforts of someone else in vein. What would you have done if someone made an effort to destroy your show?

D.P.: I don’t know? Probably freak out, but what can you do? The show must go on!

Jordan: While we’re on the topic of scandals, what do you think of Oprah and the, “This bag is too expensive for you honey” scandal? (Please read this out loud with a Swiss German Accent starting with Grützi).
D.P. : Indeed it is a scandal! Nowadays you can’t judge a person or a client on how she is dressed. That’s an absolute no-go!!!

Jordan: Did you know that Tina Turner lives in Switzerland? Yup, right around the corner from us. I play, 'Private Dancer' at top volume hoping that she’ll call the police to complain and then realize that it’s her own music. How cool would that be. Never-mind, her McMansion is humongous and she’d never hear it...What’s your favorite Tina Turner track?

D.P. : My favorite track is 'Rolling on the River' – full of power and I love the way she dances. I love music in general. It inspires me and is also important for my shows. I put a lot of effort in choosing the perfect soundtrack to my shows. And usually, people like it very much!

Jordan: 'Big wheel, keep on turning...'. What can we expect from Dimitri next season in Berlin?

D.P. : I haven't decided yet if I’ m going to show in Berlin next season. It depends on whether I will find a suitable sponsor or not. Unfortunately, having a show is a big cost driver…


The collection for FW14 will be very powerful, a lot of black, very feminine, Mediterranean of course, with some eye-catching colors.

We'll be keeping an eye out for the next collection.  Until then Catchup with DIMITRI at his blog  .

1 comment:

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