Under the Spell of Greek Costume

For the second consecutive year, three dynamic bodies, the Benaki Museum, Costa Navarino and Athens International Airport, join forces for culture. Leveraging on the Benaki Museum collection of printed sources of Greek costumes from the 16th to the 20th century, donated by I.D. Koilalous, distinguished Greek and foreign contemporary creators from the world of fashion and art present works inspired by traditional Greek costumes and endorse the infinitude of greekness in fashion and aesthetics.

Among the creators, the internationally acclaimed fashion designers Jean-Paul Gaultier, Mary Katrantzou, Sophia Kokosalaki, Zeus+Dione and Dimitris Dassios, contemporary artists Konstantin Kakanias, from The Breeder Gallery Blind Adam and Sofia Stevi, from Eleftheria Tseliou Gallery Antonakis, Chrysa Voudouroglou, Vassilis Zografos, Apostolos Karastergiou and Margarita Myrogianni, as well as the Mentis Centre for the Preservation of Traditional Textile Techniques of the Benaki Museum, and The Lyceum of Greek Women of Kalamata.

The exhibition will take place from 10 April to 18 November at Costa Navarino and from 17 July to 31 December at Athens International Airport.



The J.D. Koilalous collection includes printed representations of travelers’ artistic production regarding costume, that constitute a rich archive of visual testimonies for the most functional and at the same time imaginative manifestations of Greek life and culture. These engravings present an impressive variety of forms regarding the rendering of similar subjects from different artists at different times, while still offering invaluable evidence on costumes that have eclipsed.

Most of the engravings and watercolour paintings are works of foreign travelers in the years of Frankish and Ottoman occupations. Many are not mere recordings, but depictions inspired by narratives “staged” in their environment, or sartorial contrivances of foreign painters, who never traveled to Greece. In other words, many of the artworks form a romantic narrative of Greek history through the eyes of visitors fascinated by a foreign and mysterious place.


Curator of the exhibition is Paul Thanopoulos, scenographer and costume designer. Paul has designed performances in Greece and abroad for theater, opera and dance. He has also designed many exhibitions at the Benaki Museum, with which he maintains permanent collaboration, as well as with the Jewish Museum, the Teloglion Foundation and the Municipal Gallery of Athens. The curator of the exhibition will get in contact with you to discuss all procedures and details of the venture.



Artistic Curator & Exhibition Designer: Pavlos Thanopoulos

Technical support and on site Coordinator: Dimitra Gazouli

Graphic Designer:  Pindaros Charisiadis

Digital Prints: Eptachromo Print & Impression

Constructions: Lazaridis Scenic Studio & GT glass Tsakanikos



Coordinator: Sophia Handaka

Communication: Nicoletta Menti

Press Office: Athina Isaia



Coordinator:  Maria Sverka

Press Office: Vassilia Orfanou

General Support: Anthi Panteleou



Coordinator: Chara – Eleni Mitsotaki

Press Office: Marina Papageorgiou


We would like to express our gratitude to all institutions, artists and designers who kindly loaned their artworks for this exhibition.

Special thanks are due to Konstantinos Katalakinos, collaborator of Jean Paul Gaultier, for his invaluable help.