Inspired by their admiration of Greece’s traditional craftsmanship and talented local artisans, visionaries Dimitra Kolotoura and Mareva Grabowski launched Zeus+Dione in 2012, creating a stunning and modern (yet timeless) brand that has now become one of the most sought after labels in the international fashion world.
Zeus + Dione is leading the scene not only for their immaculate designs- but also for placing a huge emphasis on ethical and sustainable practices. Each piece is proudly designed and produced in Greece, as one by one, the custom made textiles are weaved, dyed, embroidered, and cut by expert artisans using traditional techniques with sophisticated flair.
The collections focus on lifestyle and resort wear- think chic kaftans, classic capes, column-like dresses, intricate Doric detailing, stylish sandals, bold gold jewellery, and Cycladic inspired silhouettes.
With many of their stunning pieces now being stocked in cities all over the world- from London and Paris to Miami and Dubai; as well as being found on luxury online shopping sites such as Net-A-Porter, Farfetch, and Matches Fashion- IN+SIGHTS GREECE recently spoke with co-founder Dimitra about the brand’s ongoing success, her favourite places to travel, eat/drink, and shop in her beloved homeland!
What is the story behind the label?
Zeus+Dione was born from a passion to revive and redefine local craftsmanship and traditions. Mareva and I decided to start a brand that would showcase our country’s rich cultural heritage. It came from a romantic reaction to what was happening at the time in our country – a deep financial crisis. We wanted to create fine, sustainable clothes and accessories that would be designed and made in Greece. The concept was to produce something of high quality that would make us proud.
What inspires your creations and how would you describe your designs?
Our inspiration comes from the sky, the sea, the stones, and the rocky wild islands. With the aim of celebrating our heritage, very often our references come from folk costumes, Ancient Greek garments, marble statues, and modern Greek paintings. Artisanal finishes such as cording (used in our blazers and dresses) are reminiscent of those seen in traditional Doulamas coats. Contrasting black and ivory handmade embroidery, tassels and fringing often seen on folk costumes, are used as design highlights within our garments.
Even though many of the pieces we have produced have often been adorned with intricate detailing that has deep-rooted connections to the past, the overall silhouette is streamlined and timeless, “Doric” as we say. There is also a certain simplicity to each collection we create. Some of the textiles such as the raw silks, crepe, and linen have a dry texture that marks the modesty of each item.
What do you love most about what you do?
I consider myself lucky, as I really enjoy every moment of my daily work life. The interaction I have with young creative people is such an instant energy booster. I love everything about putting together a collection, analysing the references, and choosing elements that highlight our vast heritage. I couldn’t ask for anything more.
Do you have a few favourite pieces from your latest collection?
Our new collection is a tribute to the “1821” national anniversary. As we all know the year 1821 marked a turning point in the story of modern Greece. It is the year when, after centuries of Ottoman rule, a rebellion erupted that subsequently led to the establishment of the country the way we know it. To commemorate the 200-year anniversary of the historic event, this S/S 2021 collection takes the revolutionary heroes and heroines, that paved the way for independence, as its starting point. I love the entire collection – there isn’t a single piece I wouldn’t wear. And I’m definitely going to wear the white “foustanela” skirt with the 400 symbolic pleats.
Your collections are all made in Greece. Tell us more about the materials used and artisans you work with, in order to to make each piece so special?
We are proud to say that we are of the very few brands worldwide that create our own fabrics. Each custom made textile is weaved, dyed, embroidered, and cut by expert artisans utilizing traditional techniques with a contemporary edge.
Zeus+Dione’s exclusive silk textiles are crafted uniquely for us in Soufli, a town in the Northeast part of Greece, with a long history of producing fine silk. Shirts made of this material are embroidered in Argos and Metsovo, while dresses and skirts are knitted by craftswomen of the Cyclades and Attica. Beyond the production of custom textiles, selected designs are adorned with traditional patterns and intricate motifs handwoven in Crete, ensuring an elegant signature collection each season.
How would you describe the current fashion scene in Greece?
It’s becoming extremely interesting with more and more brands creating and producing items with reference to our Greek heritage. It’s a very exciting place to be at the moment- not only for those in fashion but all creative types. Loads of artists, painters, multi-media creators, directors from all over the world are making Athens their home.
Can you share a few of your favourite Greek Summer destinations?
Coming from a country like Greece, it goes without saying that I have many favourite places. However, my number one destination is always my island, which is Syros – the capital of the Cyclades complex. A few more islands I love visiting over the summer are Tinos, Milos, Astypalaia, and Anafi.
Top spots in Athens to wine and dine your overseas guests?
The all-time classic venue for my overseas friends is the rooftop restaurant of the Grande Bretagne Hotel, with breathtaking views of the Acropolis. I would take them there for a sunset dinner. Another beautiful beach restaurant is called Krabo in the Athenian Riviera – a beautiful combination of relaxed food and a swim if the weather is warm. I can think of quite a few new entries to the Athenian scene, such as a Greek mezze restaurant Cherchez la femme and Ergon, which is an open kitchen, market-place with modern cuisine. My list is endless really, as the new culinary scene in Athens is exciting, vast, and ready to be explored.
A few of your favourite places to shop in Greece’s Capital?
I should mention here that we recently opened our flagship store in the heart of Athens, 6 Voukourestiou St, a small but wonderful Zeus+Dione shop full of surprises. I would start my shopping day here as I love to see how our collection is displayed and to curate some of our limited creations. I have to admit that I really enjoy shopping, and my two favourite stores in the city are Louisa and Enny di Monaco- they carry most of the well-known designer brands. At the same time, I love to navigate through second-hand shops that are spread around Monastiraki and also small ceramic stores that are situated in Plaka.
Lastly, what do you always pack with you when you travel?
I do travel a lot and I only take a few key pieces with me, as I always try to fit everything in my hand-luggage. I usually take two silk shirts, a pair of black jeans, a pair of cool-wool trousers, and I always pack a cashmere top. If it’s a summer weekend getaway, I just take Zeus+Dione kaftans and swimsuits!
*Images of Dimitra Kolotoura taken exclusively for IN+SIGHTS GREECE by Vasiliki Apeltsotou/Blue Mandarin Photography © (Copyright)