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Arts

Vassilis Zoulias, the Greek Designer who Dresses “Emily in Paris”

NEW YORK – Vassilis Zoulias is without a doubt one of the leading Greek fashion designers and has established his own style worldwide, which is distinguished for its elegance, a discreet prominence of femininity, and special character. He has been honored in Greece and abroad for his creations and has dressed celebrities and stars around the world. Zoulias, the Greek designer of pret a porter and haute couture, started out as a designer of elegant shoes and ended up becoming a fashion designer with one success following another.

Zoulias is one of a few Greek designers whose creations have appeared at the Met Gala in New York. In 2018, another of his creations, the very special black dress with pants worn by Alison Brie at the Golden Globe Awards, was ranked first among the five best of the night, an unprecedented success for Greek fashion.

Recently, Zoulias started another important collaboration with the stylist of Sex and the City, Patricia Field, and his unique creations dressed ‘Emily in Paris’ in the second season of the Netflix series. He spoke with The National Herald about his career and his designs.

The National Herald: When and how did you realize that you love fashion?

Vassilis Zoulias: Ever since I can remember I have had a curiosity and watched everything around me, movies, women, how my mother and her friends were dressed and I had my own opinion about my personal attire.

Designs by Greek fashion designer Vassilis Zoulias. Photo: Courtesy of Vassilis Zoulias

TNH: You have a long and very successful career in the field of fashion with important awards and international distinctions. Which moments were decisive in your career?

VZ: An absolutely defining moment was when I decided to change my career, and from a stylist I became a designer.

It was also a very important moment when I dressed Alison Brie in the black dress and pants at the Golden Globes in 2018, and this appearance was ranked first among the five best of the night.

Also at the Met Gala in New York with Mindy Kaling and, of course, my collaboration with the very successful series Emily in Paris, Season 2, which put us on the world map overnight.

TNH: What was the greatest difficulty you encountered in the field of fashion and what helped you to overcome it and continue?

VZ: There was not only one great difficulty… People like me have to belong to multinational companies where others manage their finances and the designers only deal with their art.

Unfortunately, in Greece we do not have an Arnault or Pinault analogue and the Greek fashion entrepreneurs who could invest in Greek designers are still suffering from the xenomania [obsession with anything foreign] of the 80s… So we are forced on the one hand to plan and be creative and on the other to undertake financial management… That’s the greatest difficulty. The way I overcome all difficulties is none other than the love and dedication I have to my work.

Designs by Greek fashion designer Vassilis Zoulias which have appeared on the Netflix series Emily in Paris. Photo: Courtesy of Vassilis Zoulias

TNH: What inspires you and how is it transformed into a creation?

VZ: I am inspired by everything … By music, art, cinema, and, of course, by women. There is always a woman who will inspire me to tell a ‘different story’ every time.

TNH: ‘Zoulias Style’ is now recognizable and often becomes an object of imitation. What are its dominant elements?

VZ: Discreet elegance, femininity, and strong substance.

TNH: You have been designing shoes since 2002. What is new or different that you offer to the buying public?

VZ: The design of the accessories and specifically the elegant shoes in 2002 led me at some point to design clothes in 2008. Wanting to dress them – that was the thought … to dress my shoes.

At that time, I was the only Greek shoe designer in the Greek market. The older ones had almost all stopped and the market had everything from abroad and almost nothing with a strong signature from Greece. This was exactly the difference, the Greek branding!

Designs by Greek fashion designer Vassilis Zoulias which have appeared on the Netflix series Emily in Paris. Photo: Courtesy of Vassilis Zoulias

TNH: A Greek designer, Vassilis Zoulias, dresses Emily in Paris. What does this mean for you – but also for Greek haute couture?

VZ: Personally, I felt deep professional satisfaction, and it brings me great joy. For Greek fashion, it means that at the moment in Greece there are worthy professionals who, if they are in the right place at the right time, work wonders.

TNH: If a woman does not have an innate elegance, what can style do to improve her appearance?

VZ: Unfortunately it cannot do much because style is something that if you try to get it, you automatically lose it. You have style or you do not have it. You are born with it.

TNH: If we ask you to single out one of your creations, as special for you, what would it be and for what reasons?

VZ: It would definitely be the dress with pants worn by Alison Brie. This outfit managed to stand out in a completely meritocratic way in a sea of black clothes that night as the event was dedicated to the #MeToo movement and all the women wore black.

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