By Demetris Tsakas
NEW YORK –On Saturday, April 29 Greek fashion was on display at the famous Bergdorf Goodman store on 5th Avenue in the heart of Manhattan, as the Greek company Zeus + Dione showed their line of women’s clothing and handbags.
The event for the promotion of the new Zeus + Dione line was organized on the 5th floor for handbags and accessories, while the summer clothing line was on display on the 6th floor.
The models presented the clothes and handbags which impressed the discerning shoppers, Greeks and Americans, who had the opportunity to view the collection and talk with Zeus + Dione co-founder and director Mareva Grabowski-Mitsotakis and her colleagues, who came exclusively for the show from Greece. Grabowski-Mitsotakis is also the wife of New Democracy President Kyriakos Mitsotakis.
The Zeus + Dione handbags are a smart option since their accessories can change only the strap and create the impression of wearing a totally different bag.
The bags and accessories with their excellent quality stitching and design are also named for mythological subjects and for places in Greece.
Grabowski-Mitsotakis impressed everyone with her humility and with her willingness to explain the designs and the company’s philosophy for producing and promoting high quality garments and accessories based on traditional techniques for the domestic and international market.
The Zeus + Dione catalog is also impressive and offers better insight into the new season’s collection.
Asked about the name of the company, Grabowski-Mitsotakis pointed out that she was inspired by mythology because Zeus and Dione were the parents of Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty.
Referring to the company’s philosophy, she said, “We take a pattern from the embroidery of a traditional costume and use it on a bag. And we have made a selection from 52 prefectures and for each season we choose about six embroidery patterns and use them for the line of handbags.”
“We are inspired by tradition and we turn it into something more modern. Everything is made in Greece, except for the skin, which we import from Italy. The same goes for the clothes we make at a factory in Soufli, Evros, which has a great tradition in fabrics. We do a lot of experiments to produce a very nice fabric,” said Grabowski-Mitsotakis.
Referring to Zeus + Dione, she pointed out that it was founded in 2012 amid the financial crisis.
“We have the opportunity to penetrate the market and show that we have tradition and culture and capable people with know-how and we put the bar very high. In New York, we are one year old and it is our third season. They offered us the opportunity to organize a show and present the collection of bags and show the embroidery as well.”
Asked whether there was more demand for bags or clothing, she said, “There is a demand for both. Last summer, there was a demand for clothes and everything sold. In the winter, the bags started and we reached the summer levels. We are quite pleased. We are thinking of expanding to other stores and making proposals to expand to Los Angeles and California in general and other states in America.”
When asked about starting a company in the middle of the crisis, she pointed out: “It was quite difficult and it is still difficult, but if you have vision and clear goals, patience and perseverance, you can do it.”
Asked about jobs and job creation at Zeus + Dione, Grabowski-Mitsotakis said, “We have 27 employees permanently in the office and have created 150 jobs indirectly. These are studios which, due to the crisis, were about to close and to whom we offered work and hope and that is very important.”
Zeus + Dione products are available at Bergdorf Goodman and via the internet at www.zeusndione.com.
Asked about domestic demand, Grabowski-Mitsotakis said that at this moment a significant part of the clientele is the tourists who visit Greece and that this was a conscious choice.
“We could produce everything in China and other countries with cheap labor and reduce production costs. But we preferred to make everything in Greece and create new jobs. It is a conscious choice to remain Greek,” concluded Grabowski-Mitsotakis.