The conference was introduced by the director of the Heraklion Archaeological Museum Dr Stella Mandalaki, who referred to the museum’s effort for a fruitful dialogue between ancient art and contemporary creation.

Opening addresses were made by the Regional Governor of Crete Stavros Arnaoutakis, founder of Branding Heritage, journalist Katerina Frentzou, Secretary-General of the Ministry of Culture and Sports Dr Maria Vlazaki, Deputy Mayor of Culture of Heraklion Aristea Plevri and former European Parliament Vice-President Rodi Kratsa. Honorary Director of Antiquities Efi Sapouna-Sakellaraki participated in the event with the following message: “I regret not being able to attend this special event for personal reasons, as the Region of Central Greece and the Greek Commission of UNESCO are honouring my work on the same day. However, I could not have been absent from a place that had occupied me very early on, since I have systematically researched the Minoan garment, but also the jewellery, especially the ancient buckles of Crete and the Aegean islands. I believe that today’s event organised by Branding Heritage at the Heraklion Archaeological Museum is worthy of praise, as it is an initiative that honours contemporary garment and jewellery, as well as the creators who are inspired by the ancient Greek world and constitute worthy ambassadors of our country”.


The public had the opportunity to hear interesting speeches by well-known Greek creators, archaeologists, journalists, businessmen and representatives of local institutions. The event was moderated by Olga Stavropoulou (Militos Consulting), while the visual arts for the visual identity of the event were granted by illustrator Christos Kourtoglou.


The 1st panel session on the subject “Dialogue of Creators with the Minoan Civilisation” was attended by Yannis Tseklenis (with a recorded message), the founders of the brand Zeus+Dione, Mareva Grabowski and Dimitra Kolotoura, co-founder of Ancient Greek Sandals Christina Martini, and fashion journalist Elis Kiss (magazine “K”, newspaper KATHIMERINI, Vogue). The designers spoke about their efforts to support Greek craftsmen and promote the wealth of Greek culture through their products, while Elis Kiss referred to the timeless influence of ancient Greek culture on the world fashion scene, emphasising that it has repeatedly been a central theme of inspiration for leading designers.


The 2nd panel session on “Minoan Symbols in Modern Jewellery” was attended by  Honorary Director of the Heraklion Archaeological Museum, Nota Dimopoulou, who mentioned the techniques of Minoan goldsmithing, CEO of the Zolotas Jewelry, Georges Papalexis who explained how ancient myths come to life in the workshops of the house, archaeologist and jewellery designer Polina Sapouna Ellis, who referred to her excavation experience beside her distinguished archaeologist uncle and aunt, Yannis & Efi Sakellarakis, as well as how she was led to the creation of jewellery with the main theme of ancient Greek culture and president of APIVITA, Nikos Koutsianas, who referred to the reasons that led him to the choice of his company logo based on the Minoan Bee Pendant of Malia.


Of particular interest were the speeches of distinguished archaeologists and creators in the 3rd panel session on the subject “The Loom Is Fashionable”. The speakers elaborated on the importance of ancient textiles and their remarkable potential to enhance cultural entrepreneurship. Participations by: the president of the ARTEX Hellenic Centre for Research and Conservation of Archaeological Textile, Dr Stella Spantidaki, also creator of handmade woven clothing Faye Chatzi, who explained the need to integrate this ancient art into a contemporary environment. The conference’s closing address was made by speakers, representatives of local institutions. The Silversmiths Association of Heraklion Prefecture was represented by Chrysovalantis Gialesakis and the Institute of Vocational Training of Rethymno by Maria Stratinaki. Short speeches followed by students of 5th Vocational Senior High School of Heraklion, who shared their experiences regarding their influence by Minoan symbols.


Research archaeologist, PhD from the Institute of Fine Arts of the University of New York, Dr Bernice Jones, author of the book “Ariadne’s Threads —The Construction and Significance of Clothes in the Aegean Bronze Age” spoke to the public about her research in relation to Minoan Crete’s women’s clothing and the weaving technology of the vertical loom and displayed, in the exhibition that showcased the workshop, 3 copies of Minoan garments depicted on frescoes and other excavation findings.


Significant creator Yannis Tseklenis, who had agreed to participate as a scientific advisor of the organisation, took part in the conference with a video message explaining that ancient Greek civilization was a point of reference and inspiration for him. Below you can read his speech and watch the video that follows.

“I greet you all from afar, because I could not be with you. To begin with, I would like to congratulate the Heraklion Archaeological Museum, which has opened its doors to creation and encourages young creators to use the incredible themes of Minoan culture in fashion and jewellery. For 52 years now, I have personally been very involved in Greek affairs, whenever the trends, whether international or not, would become ethnic. The vessels exhibited at the Heraklion Museum were the source of inspiration for my first designs themed on Greek culture. My 1967 collection was inspired by Cretan vessels. The Minoan octopuses are apparent in my designs. Along with my greeting, I would like to give a piece of advice to the younger generation of designers, and that is to avoid depicting themes as they are and to use their creative aptitude to take designs one step further, so that they don’t look like copy-paste work. The red-figure vases I designed on clothes in the ’70s are far from what I had seen in findings. Consumers took a liking to them, because they didn’t feel that they were buying a tourist product from a souvenir shop, but rather a contemporary object of cultural value. I wish them good luck in this endeavour and I hope that this sets an example, so that all the museums in Greece can have a discourse with young creators. We should not forget to congratulate the efforts of Branding Heritage – although it might seem a bit like I am bragging, since I have accepted the honorary proposal to be their consultant in this endeavour. I believe this is an endeavour that has a long way to go, but they have already taken the first truly steady steps by encouraging creators to draw inspiration from the ancient Greek civilisation and create something contemporary”.



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