Friday, 24 April 2009

Maria Daskalaki: Misunderstood

Remember this post? New designer starts her show with an s/m video, no warning of the adult material to follow and then models in s/m accessories come down the catwalk. Some people leave the room.

A few days later I met Maria Daskalaki in person. I had to ask: WHY? You know what, Maria is lovely. And misunderstood. Bring your coffee/tea close and keep reading, this is interesting.

AR:What was the inspiration behind the collection you showed at AXDW?
MD: It came from a tantrum in Camden town and an earworm. It all started months ago in London, where I was visiting my brother. We were walking in Camden when I came across a mask I found deeply inspiring.

I had already spent my cash and my brother who does not understand how different objects can inspire a creative mind refused to buy it for me, no matter how I insisted.
I felt so powerless at that point, totally depended on him, buying my object of desire was beyond my control.

At the house, his friends would play Marilyn Manson’s Beautiful People (Seb Leger Mix) non-stop and on the plane back, the earworm and the obsession with that mask lead to a creative explosion: I’d make a collection for powerful, independent women. The mask concept was translated into s/m masks and the song gave it all a punk-rock feel.

The styling was adjusted to this idea. The message was strong women who are in control in life, not (only) in bed as it mistakenly came out.

AR:What went wrong?
MD: When having a catwalk I like to hold a proper show, expressing the theme of my collections to the maximum. The intro, the video, the music, the styling as well as the catwalk march were all planned to the last detail.

Between the previous show and mine, a break was scheduled, during which my marketing people would place postcards with my bio on the seats complete with pop-corn to give the feel of a proper spectacle.

Since the accessories were adult material, they would then go to the entrance and make sure only individuals above 21 would be allowed in. Then 20-30 seconds of that old s/m video would be screened with lights on and no sound, just to give the effect of before and after when my show began. Then it would be show-time.

As you saw though, it all went wrong for reasons beyond my powers. Due to time restrictions the audience of the previous show was not let out so none was warned of what would follow. Moreover my guests were outside, were denied entrance and to cover the small break someone instructed that my video gets played.

That was a ten minute s/m video played with lights off and sound on! So not my plan. I was backstage preparing the models when a fellow student walked in in panic, shouting “your video has been playing for way too long!”...

AR:How did you handle this?
MD: I was devastated. Tried to take the bow as calmly as I could and then went out and started apologising towards all directions, to people shocked by the show, to friends, families and buyers who were not allowed in, to anyone I could. Sad thing is, it was not even my fault, I was clueless and embarrassed.

AR: Last November you had won the AXDW awards for Best Catwalk and Best Trendsetter. What was that collection like?
MD: It was inspired from my hobbies. I am very athletic, have been training in swimming for 13 years and for the last few, I do kick boxing. I wanted to create a clubwear collection and based on that, I put together a catwalk with references to the Bronx, studio 54 dancing mood and glimpses of Mohammad Ali. I don’t have my own showroom yet, but this SS 09 collection is available so people interested can contact me directly.

AR: For which audience do you design?
MD: I make clothes for women who want to be different, who dare to express themselves through what they wear, spirited and assertive, who know how to have some fun.

AR: Do you wear what you make?
MD: I don’t design clothes to dress myself necessarily. I would be too pressured and set boundaries to my creativity. However I really like what I’ve made so far and yes, I’ve worn some pieces too.

AR: What will you bring to the fashion world as a new designer?
I would like to change the way people think of what’s “in fashion”. The speed at which fashion changes these days is so fast that before you can say you are fashionable, you are already “out of fashion”. I want people to be unique, different from one another and in a stylistically playful mood.

AR: What is your favourite item in your closet?
MD: It’s not one in particular. It all depends on the mood of the moment: rock, pop, disco, sporty, etc.

AR: Where can you be reached at?
My email:

*Thank you Maria, wish you all the best & hope you never have to go through this again;)


Clemmie and Melroy said...

My oh my!
Maria just forget about it, organisations' malapropos is common knowledge and we love you anyway :D
Alecca Rox, you rock! thank you for this one xxx

Lopi said...

How great of both of you to do that interview! Alecca, you're a great interviewer and I loved hearing Maria's part of the story. I understand that the whole thing was supposed to be a spectacle, and that there are times when EVERYTHING goes absolutely wrong. What I would like to see now is a look-book or an editorial of the clothes styled in a more realistic way. In other words, I would love to see how Maria translates her collection from catwalk to real life. Think that's possible?

Frank Gimme said...

Very interesting interview and straight to the point.. I agree with all facts regarding the show because I was there and saw it.

However, the show was fantastic and mesmerising.. out of the norm and mainstream trends .. and I loved it!

Good luck and best wishes for more successful shows!

Frank Gimme

Alecca Rox said...

@ Frank Gimme: thx for letting me use that last photo, your shots were amazing.