Yannis Tseklenis is recognised today as the leading Greek fashion designer of the second half of the 20th century. He is also considered to be the artist and businessman who introduced Greek fashion to the contemporary international fashion world. Over the course of his fashion design career (1965-1991), his textile and fashion collections were in leading stores in more than 30 countries.
Moreover, he organised the first group fashion shows in Greece (1970), he was the first Greek designer to open permanent showrooms in London and New York (1973) and the largest exporter of fashion in Greece. However, Tseklenis’ more important contribution lay in the way he drew inspiration from local, Greek or world cultural styles, which he developed for fashion in his textile patterns.
Furthermore, Tseklenis introduced theme fashion, by choosing specific themes for his fashion lines from different art periods, such as Greek history and folk art (i.e. Aegean art, ancient Greek vases, Byzantine art, etc.) and international art history (i.e. Russian art, African art, the Persian tapestries, etc.), as well as from painters’ works, such as the Impressionists and El Greco.
In addition, in 1983 he collaborated closely with Greek contemporary painter Yannis Gaitis to co-create the collection ‘Tseklenis from Gaitis’, a fashion line designed by Tseklenis based on the painter’s style and drawings.
In 1997, Yannis Tseklenis donated his entire collection of prototype garments from most of his 70 fashion lines to the Peloponnesian Folklore Foundation “V. Papantoniou” in Nafplion, Greece. The Ioannis Tseklenis fashion collections, along with fashion apparel garments, also include 1000 sketches and jewellery.
Featured images: Yannis Tseklenis, El Greco collection, 1978
Copyright design and photos © Yannis Tseklenis, photographers via euran.com