Greek designer Elli Lyraraki presented a collection of numbered, handmade footwear during Paris Haute Couture Week for Fall 2019. The designer, born & raised in Athens, but with her roots traced back to the ancient island of Crete, credits the fabric scraps that were laying around her mother’s fabric shop as her inspiration, as well as the carefree summers spent running around her uncle’s award winning vineyards.
After studying music & interior design, she took over the family business, but later relocated to Chania, Crete, where she & her husband discovered the ancient art of sandal making. They were so taken by the craft that they set-up a small workshop the create a full range of handmade, leather sandals. Soon, the collection took on many silhouettes from wedge-heeled shoes to ballerina flats, & expanded to include bags, earrings, bracelets & necklaces.
For this season, Lyraraki introduced her entire range of clothing, entitled Alagonia, within which the capsule collection of her shoes can be found. Inspired by the artistic wonders of the Minoan civilization, especially the world-renowned frescoes of Knossos, the collection was true to the ancient artwork to the most minute of detail. Lyraraki was so dedicated to accuracy that she collaborated on the collection with the archaeologist Ioanna Kalypso Glypti, as well as with craftsmen who had thoroughly studied techniques used during the 16thcentury, based on traditional embroidery techniques for handmade traditional Cretan garments, and the famous uninterrupted thread, which cannot be cut.
For the shoes in particular, Lyraraki worked with specialized painters who applied the batik technique of wax-resist dyeing on silk, used for the first time on shoes. In addition, she worked with, silversmiths & goldsmiths to create gold jewelry using precious & semi-precious gemstones which were attached to the shoes, as well as being used as part of the jewelry collection that was designed specifically to accompanying the shoes.
The clothing collection is fabricated with fabulously detailed silk foulards & rich hand-painted batiks on silks. Each pair of shoes is coupled with a handmade silk pouch, a further testament to an Elli Lyraraki trademark… not a single detail left unaddressed.
-R. Scott French
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