Golden rust - the theme of the SS09 collection by Ioannis Dimitrousis sums it up perfectly: glamourous but dirty at the same time. Wanna-have pieces that go further and beyond the expected, giving insights and see-throughs thanks to subtle crochet, fringe and beading techniques. I am caught in his net.
Ioannis Dimitrousis Spring/Summer 2009
For your pleasure, an excerpt of the big interview with Monsieur Ioannis himself. Find out all about Greek drama, penises and crochet. And never forget: There can only be one Horst Interview.
Welcome to the world famous Horst interview. First of all, many thanks that you are taking the time so late at night.
That’s fine. It’s my pleasure.
I've heard your current relationship status is complicated... Why?
I have a boyfriend who lives abroad. And we are back and forth. But when we are not together in the same country we do what we "want".
And are you happy with that or is it just a gentlemen’s agreement?
Well being with my boyfriend like that is ok because we have our freedom as well... I’m still thinking it is easy to love someone but hard to stay with someone you love. So I don’t really know. It is complicated.
Didn’t the Greek invented men love? Then you need to know everything about it...
I know. But the Greek also destroyed it. When Christians Greek came to power they forbid same sex relationships and sex and marriage was a must. In Byzantine years when orthodox Christianity was reigning the emperor Loustinianos and his wife Theodora killed lots of "ancient" Greeks who used to believe in 12 gods, same sex love etc. Christianity after that took the form as we know it today. Love and marriage, no sex before marriage.
Sex education with Yannis. I love it. We need to talk more about it. Why do you know these things?
I’m very interested in history and civilizations and I read a lot history books.
My favourite book is Antigone by Sophokles. Have you read it?
Aaaa… No, I haven’t. But I know it, the story.
I love these dramatic everyone-has-to-die-stories.
Yes, I like Media, another ancient character. I’m a bit drama as well.
No drama, no art.
So there we are: art and fashion. Is it the same? Or completely different?
It is where our inspiration comes from. Watching, reading or doing anything that might bring you closer to the past or future, to find out things that happened then or might happen in future brings an inspiration to work on. I like all these refugee stories and dramas especially in the beginning of 1900. Like the famous stories of mail brides.
What’s the story behind these brides?
For a better future they marry someone they met through mail, selecting their future husband without ever seeing him, maybe at one picture. They arrive at the port of NY where they get married so that they can entry the country. Then they live and work happily and send money back home to Russia, Turkey, Greece or Italy.
That was beginning of 1900? I thought it was a late 80s internet phenomenon, hehe…
Yes, maybe even earlier. And it lasted long. I recommend you a film. In Greek it is called Nifes, in English Bride or Mail Brides. Check out youtube.com. You might find some nice scenes and the music is great.
In the Realm of the Senses 1976
Do you know 'In the Realm of the Senses'? The Japanese scandal movie?
No, what’s this about?
It's about a passionate love affair, very self-destructive and explicit. And in the end, the woman breaks all barriers and kills her man by cutting off his...
Oh yes, I think I heard of it...
Maybe a new inspiration... for your future.
To cut my future boyfriend’s penis? A dramatic finale!
There we are again: drama. Do you think one should have loved to be a real human being?
You mean to be a real human being you must love once? I think you become better as a person once you loved but that will not make you human!
That sounds very logical and grounded. Do you think you are a down to earth person?
Yes, very. I’m very normal. I’m not posh, I don’t make effort, I’m friendly, I’m very normal like anyone, even though my name is known in the fashion scene, I don’t pretend to be 'a designer' with attitude. I’m just like normal.
You said you are well known in the fashion scene. I saw this girl wearing one of your weaved dresses at the Noir launch party. Who was she?
She is a Greek Canadian girl who loves my work. She does lots of things in her life: dancer, art critic, curator... Her name is Gabriela Daris. We met long time ago in Greece while clubbing. We were like 14-15 years old. We used to see each other once or twice a year. Never in the same city... And somehow we met in London after years. When she saw my work after this long time, she fell in love. And she asked me what’s available to buy! Now she is a regular costumer, muse and friend!
How much is a dress?
Nearly £500. But it is still not expensive as it is all hand weaved and limited pieces.
How many pieces are made of each?
I made 5 for a store in Hongkong, and 5 more to be sold to very special women.
So tell me more about your collection for Autumn/Winter 08.
I started with a theme of back and forth as lots of people in my life are back and forth: my mum is back and forth from Greece to help me for my collections and stays over for two months, my boyfriend as well. So I thought about weaving and I started weaving dresses. Like the one you saw. Then crochet came in as it is my mum’s technique. And all became one. It is a mixture and confusion of sexes and eras and seasons.
Crochet... Did you learn it then?
No, it is my mum who does all the crochet for me. I give the ideas, she has the practical skills. That started out of nowhere. She did couple of scarves for my graduate collection and then we started doing scarves. Soon we developed to tops and then to dresses. I choose the design and the idea and my mum does it for me. And she is super great… and fast like a machine! It is always an experiment as it is time consuming. So we play around and in my mind I have an idea and that idea comes to life because I know it is possible.
The metaphor of back and forth is nice.
And it also includes the time we spent of undoing a crochet piece and redoing it again.
And will you continue this approach for the next collection?
Yes, it is a signature of my work.
And adding something, replacing a technique? After crochet maybe pleating?
I always mix elements and things and ideas together for something unique.
So what’s next? I would love to see underwear from you.
I did a pair just a few months ago. But it is not perfect yet. It was the first attempt and for private use only.
How is your new collection like?
It is very natural. With bows, wooden elements... and crochet. For example I’ll do some wooden beaded tops.
Please describe one particular piece. One for women, one for men.
There is a dress with an unusual bow tie starting at the back and hiding parts of the face. Mystery is good. Surprise. It is good to wait and looking forward to see something that you actually cannot see. And for men, there is a trouser and a shirt. But more complicated than it sounds. It is more beautiful when you see it, hard to describe it with words.
Writing about fashion is like dancing architecture.
That’s true. I think SS09 will be a bit architectural.
Do you also design shoes? Or glasses?
I can as I have a big fetish but it is only ideas.
Fetish, nice keyword, continue...
Oh yes! Well I’m into white trainers and socks but I like high heels on women and nice shoes on women.
What about shiny shorts?
I like that too but mostly truck suits, trackie bottoms. But uniforms, shorts, suits… all is good. But I am not a big fan of leather.
I like a white tee and jeans, that’s pure sexiness.
Me, too. My usual look.
Make sure you don’t expose too much about me in the article! (laughs)
No, I won’t. Just a little… maybe.