Website: Human Stories, Greece
December 2017

Helena’s art through Grecian Chic

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Classic springs from the sources of traditions. She travels all over the islands and the mountains. She loves the orthodox churches out of the cities, at the countryside. She loves the family and the sunlight of Greece. She explores European cities through the eye of a Greek woman. The references are about Helena Zournatzi. Her creations are compelling. Each of her pictures has a short story as a background. Helena knows how to observe Greece and people, her beloved country, which is her home, as she said.

Helena comes from Chalkida where she grew up and finished her school. She studied Graphic Design at Kingston University in London and in a row she studied 2D Cartoon Animation at Central Saint Martins in London. And after that she came back to Greece at Athens where she was working for ten years. “I have married a Cyprian, so life brought me at the island of Cyprus. I try to split the time between Lefkosia (Nicosia) and Athens.

Helena is the creator of Grecian Chic. The idea was born as she was travelling on Highspeed boat to Santorini island, on August 2012. While Helena was travelling, on the blue sea, to Cyclades, she drew up the logo of Grecian Chic on paper pages of a magazine (as she was just flipping pages). The label had come impulsively. “The idea was in my mind a long time ago while I had been cooperating with a French fashion house, and I had already design some silky scarves for the new Museum of Acropolis and the Archaeological Museum of Lefkosia (Nicosia) in Cyprus. I had always in my mind to create a firm or something of my own”. “The Grecian Chic is a brand, focus on women’s accessoire. I had the experience of working with silk; it is sophisticated, chic… like my brand”, Helena said. “All the designs are created by me. At first I draw on a piece of paper using pencil, and in a row I use black ink, and finally using my computer I complete the creations”.

Forms transform by the Greek style that Helena gives. The digital print, and the seam, are made by British stuff. The twirling seam is traditional.

Greece is an ark of ideas that inspire the artists, and an inheritance for Helena. Everyday life, History, and Mythology of Greece are printed on paper. That is all Helena loves and gives threw her symbols powerful messages. For example, the traditions of Greek Family are a piece of her heart and she transforms that by her slogan “Grecian Christmas is all about family”. “Greece is my home! Greece is my country. I grew up there with its traditions and History. Greek culture is a part of me. All that is what I have been taught by my parents, at school and in everyday life of Greece. We are a country that our family relationships are tight a lot. Are there Christmas without our family? My mother used to guide me to museums for sightseeing. I don’t remember a lot, but as many as a child’s mind or eye could memorize. Probably the experience had been strong enough. On 2013 I decided to present Greece through my own point of view with a style both chic and humoristic. I would made a long trip around the world with love and hope.

Helena has really made that. She has become an illuminated ambassador of Greek culture all over the world. Each scarve made of her, each piece of her materials is unique because it carries a message as the silky “Grecian Paniyiri”. “I spend each summer in a small village having small churches around at the valleys or mountains and waiting for the traditional celebrations the “paniyiri” of those churches for each one of their Saints. At the “paniyiri” all the citizens are gathered to celebrate their Saint… Women go there well dressed like at Christmas … Everyone accompanies the celebration offering food or wine… And in there  ourselves (the strangers as they call as) having good moments… The “paniyiri” of Greek Orthodox Christian churches are unique!”

All the products of Grecian Chic are produced in Britain. “I’m not going to hush up that in the beginnings I wanted my scarves to be totally Greek made in every stage of their production. I had addressed to silk industries of the city of Soufli at the north-east part of Greece, but unfortunately they couldn’t cope with the qualities I was looking for. That is the reason I was looking for partners abroad and I found them in Britain with whom I have a very good cooperation”.

Helena’s art travels through the museums, boutiques, and her site. Although, recently, her art reached the land of Australia where that is promoted. Parallel, that is used by Danish Airlines which has chosen the Grecian Chic Lady scarves for their air hostesses and pilots. “In Greece I can see a lot of love for my creations, but, unfortunately, the financial crisis doesn’t give field. Greeks have financial problems so my scarves are something like superfluous luxury. On abroad I observe consumers swinging. Indeed the competition is very big. Silky scarves are not ordinary accessories… That isn’t like bugs. So, the step forward is hard work. I have the patience that is needed”. About the Danish Airlines, Helena comments that the cooperation had been a good chance: “They addressed to me because they like the Grecian Chic Lady very much. They asked to dress their air hostesses with scarves and their pilots with neckties. Probably they are an airline company with a sense of humor…”.

This is Helena. The lady with the aristocratic finesse and the Greek roots who feels proud about her origin. A hard working person who fights every single day to communicate and share Greece all over the world. Helena loves travelling very much. “Travels are a very good break of the routine and an inspiring activity full of new pictures and ideas…”. Although there is one picture that follows the difficult moments of her life, the home of her family on the island. “The high roof, the flowers in the garden…that’s where I photograph my scarves…”, that had been the starting point of everything.

Travel through Helena’s eyes… 

by Machi Christoforidou

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