LONDON — Sophia Kokosalaki, a broadly admired London-based clothes designer who drew on her Greek heritage in highlighting classical silhouettes and suave material, died on Sunday in London. She was 47.
Her dying was confirmed by Antony Baker, her associate and the managing director of her model, Sophia Kokosalaki. No trigger was given.
Over greater than twenty years Ms. Kokosalaki grew to become some of the outstanding Greek designers of her technology, revered by such star friends as Alexander McQueen and Kim Jones for her balancing a cutting-edge female look with historical Greek, Minoan and Byzantine motifs.
She had earlier been a forerunner of a brand new wave of European style designers who moved to London to review, then stayed to arrange their companies.
“After Sophia got here a stream of Europeans as integral to London’s style cultural renaissance within the 2000s,” Sarah Mower, Vogue.com’s chief style critic, mentioned in an electronic mail, “together with Roksanda Ilincic, Marios Schwab, Peter Pilotto, Mary Katrantzou and Marques Almeida.”
In a sign honor, Ms. Kokosalaki was chosen to be chief clothes designer for the summer season Olympic Video games in Athens in 2004. Ms. Katrantzou, a fellow Greek designer who additionally works in London, mentioned in a press release that she was “eternally grateful to Sophia for making us all really feel proud to be Greek and speaking the values of our tradition far past our borders.”
Ms. Kokosalaki was born in Athens on Nov. three, 1972, to Vasilios and Stella (Leonidaki) Kokosalakis. Her mom was a journalist, and her father was a civil engineer. Initially desirous to be a author, Ms. Kokosalaki studied literature on the Nationwide and Kapodistrian College of Athens, however all of the whereas, she later mentioned, she had been resisting an inside name to pursue a profession in style. When she was three she had began drawing clothes with value tags, she mentioned, and at 11 she had taken discover of how folks dressed.
“Again then in Greece — we’re speaking the mid-1990s — it wasn’t thought of severe to do style,” she advised the London newspaper The Night Customary in 2010. “In England, you’ve got artwork faculties and you are taking it severely. However the examples I had rising up had been few, they usually weren’t essentially inspiring. Being a designer was a final resort. It was not the factor you probably did if you happen to had been a mannequin tutorial.”
Ms. Kokosalaki determined to maneuver to London, the place she earned a grasp’s diploma at Central Saint Martins Faculty of Arts and Design. Amongst her professors was Louise Wilson, then the kingmaker of British style. She graduated in 1998 and debuted her first girl’s put on assortment at London Trend Week a 12 months later. Her mix of draping and plissé with rock star power gave start to an aesthetic that might be her signature.
“Sophia was the primary designer to emerge from Central Saint Martins who fused a European heritage — classical material, Hellenic people craft — with a minimalist sense of how that might be worn on the road or in a membership,” Ms. Mower mentioned in a tribute to Ms. Kokosalaki that was printed in Vogue. Ms. Mower recalled watching Mr. McQueen — then some of the revered designers on the earth — shouldering his means by crowds exterior Ms. Kokosalaki’s present in 2002 to see her new work.
After a stint as a visitor designer on the Italian leather-based firm Ruffo Analysis, and after successful the brand new Era Designer prize on the Trend Awards in Britain in 2003, she was given an much more distinguished accolade: the appointment as chief designer of the 2004 Olympics. A supply of immense nationwide pleasure, the Video games marked the return of the Olympics to Athens, the place the trendy competitors started in 1896.
Ms. Kokosalaki dressed the greater than 7,000 performers and athletes for the opening and shutting ceremonies of the Video games, creating garments to characterize totally different intervals of Greek tradition and artwork. She additionally designed the uniforms for the Video games info attendants and officers.
Two years later she was made artistic director of the Parisian style home Vionnet, as a part of a turnaround effort by the model’s new proprietor, however the appointment lasted solely a 12 months. In 2007, her personal model — by then worn by celebrities like Jennifer Connelly and Kirsten Dunst — was purchased by the Italian style conglomerate Solely the Courageous, run by Renzo Rosso. However that affiliation, too, was short-lived. Ms. Kokosalaki purchased her label again two years later.
She additionally grew to become the artistic director of Mr. Rosso’s high-end Diesel Black Gold label, which represented a transfer away from time-consuming and costly hand work and towards mass manufacturing and slick industrial enchantment. She remained in that publish from 2009 to 2012 — a interval of “intense enterprise schooling,” as she known as it.
That have prompted her, in 2012, to begin Kore, a less expensive line that was bought by ASOS, one in every of Britain’s largest style e-commerce retailers. She additionally began a classy bridal assortment.
Along with her associate, Mr. Baker, Ms. Kokosalaki is survived by her daughter, Stelli.
The Greek tradition minister, Lina Mendoni, noting that it was “extraordinarily unhappy when a teen dies,” known as Ms. Kokosalaki “a dynamic and self-made girl who starred within the harsh and aggressive world of worldwide style.”
As her well being wavered, in response to folks round her, Ms. Kokosalaki selected to spend extra time in Crete, the place she had all the time discovered inspiration. In 2015, she designed cabin crew uniforms for Aegean Airways, and in 2017 she turned to advantageous jewellery.
These collections, principally in gold, retained her hallmark of incorporating historical and legendary patterns with a contemporary twist. It was all in line with how she appreciated to outline herself — as a “Greek girl, however an English designer.”
Susan C. Beachy contributed analysis.