THE BRAINS BEHIND
THE HISTORIC BRAND PARTHENIS
She is one of the most creative Greek designers, the brains behind the historic brand Parthenis, carrying on the torch with consistency. A restless businesswoman, representing Greek fashion, with a charming personality. But what is Orsalia Parthenis like when she is off-duty and what is her personal perception of style? She opened up her home and let us in on the small and big secrets of her lifestyle.
As we opened the wardrobe in Orsalia Parthenis’ elegant minimal loft in the Ano Petralona neighborhood of Athens, we got a glimpse of the true history of a Greek fashion house that reminds us of Greek summer: Parthenis clothes from 1985: “some, in fact, have my name on them from summer camp”, Orsalia tells us. “These clothes hold a sentimental value for me, as a reference to the highest quality of the materials in which the Parthenis brand has always used”. What else did we find? A number of vintage pieces “because my mom has a thing for vintage. In many hand-made vintage pieces, you will find better seams, much more interesting fabrics and patterns that do not exist today. They have an encyclopedic value. Since modern clothes have become to a great extent expendable, the value of old clothes can be found on multiple levels”.
Taking a look around the industrial home, which she shares with her husband Pantelis Goudis and her two sons, in Ano Petralona, with direct access to Filopappou Hill and a clear view of the sea, what you get is a pure sense of… Parthenis “because practicality and aesthetics go hand in hand”, Orsalia explains. But why did she choose this area for her family’s home? “Because I believe this is the genuine center of Athens. I love the historic ambiance of the area. I initially came to stay here in 2002, with my godmother, and I fell in love with it”.
My eye falls on two paintings, one in the bedroom and one in the living room, over the fireplace, while my ear picks up on some sweet feline noises, that briefly deflect the conversation “The paintings are by Phaedon Patrikalakis. They belonged to my father – and coincidentally they both passed away around the same time”, Orsalia tells us with visible emotion.
Her father Dimitris, who passed away a few months ago, is present everywhere, but mainly on the Parthenis brand: “Τhe brand is an extremely vivid organism. I feel that it possesses me. After my father’s death, this has become even stronger, because I feel his presence. I don’t feel the need to contradict him any longer, but to feature him.” However, clothes designed by Orsalia have a strong artistic stamp without leaving behind the core values of the brand and her father. Her summer collection has reached the perfect balance of clothes, multi-functional with artistic references. “The summer collection has prints and khakis; it is earthy and diverges from what we have come to expect from Parthenis – it has a certain military essence, but these are still classic Parthenis easy-to-wear clothes for your vacation.”
In addition to being a creative designer, Orsalia is also a smart businesswoman. The Parthenis chain of shops is growing and multiplying. She opened a new shop in Santorini, in Megalochori, continues to run the shop in Spetses, will shortly open a shop in Thessaloniki, and as she admits “I have been trying to go abroad for some time now”. She has found her path…
The cool girl | July 2018