The legend of Greek fashion, Yannis Tseklenis, passed away

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Yannis Tseklenis, the international Greek designer & artist,
passed away on Wednesday, January 29, 2020,
 at the age of 82.

Yannis Tseklenis was born in Athens on November 6, 1937 and is the leading Greek fashion designer of the second half of the 20th century, who introduced Greek fashion to the modern international world. His creations from 1965 to 1991 were sold worldwide by leading stores in more than 30 countries.

At the age of 15, he began working for the family’s textile business, where he gained valuable experience in painting and drawing arts.

In 1965, at the age of 28, he took over the management of the family textile business and later, in the same year, he collaborated with the Greek fashion designer Dimis Kritsas, designing the fabrics for his collection. The presentation of the collection was a huge success in both Athens and New York. All of their creations, along with 5,000 meters of fabric, were purchased by Elizabeth Arden.

In 1966, he authorized Puritan Fashions Corporation to use his collections. Bernadine Morris wrote in the New York Times at the time that “… many of Giannis Tseklenis’ clothes stood out from the designs with the references they had in ancient sources, such as a Minoan octopus and a Corinthian vase …”.

Since 1967, he has already had a chain of stores selling its creations (Boutique TSEKLENIS) in Greece and since 1968 a small clothing manufacturing company in Athens.

In 1969, he gave permission for his creations to David Crystal Inc in the United States. That year, he was the first Greek fashion designer to create a collection of men’s clothing in Greece, mainly to be sold in his boutiques. He then gave the production license to his knitted designs, to Berkshire Hellas.

1977 was the turning point for Giannis Tseklenis, both professionally and personally. He was diagnosed with an aggressive form of melanoma and was admitted to Memorial Hospital in New York, where doctors were forced to amputate his left arm to prevent the disease from spreading. Although this traumatic event changed his life, he decided to continue his normal life and thus moved from Athens to New York, along with all his activities. There he collaborated with the International Management Group, which in the process would represent him internationally in granting permits for the construction of his collections and children’s sportswear.

Since 1991, Giannis Tseklenis has been active, exclusively in the field of interior and environmental design. That year, he donated to the Peloponnesian Folklore Foundation all his original designs and clothes, which he owned.

The following year, 1998, he was commissioned to design the interior and exterior of Athens’ public transport (buses, trolleybuses), and in 1999 he designed the trains for the new, for that time, suburban railway of the Hellenic Railways and then all the new trains of the Organization.

Since 2000, he has been responsible for the interior design of many luxury hotels, resorts and private homes, throughout Greece. Examples of his work include Vedema (one of the first luxury art boutique hotels in Greece) Zannos Melathron, Castelli Resort (Santorini), La Maltese Restaurant (Santorini), Danai Beach Resort & Villas and several luxury private villas in Athens’ suburbs, Santorini, Mykonos and Tinos (Kelia, a country house with holiday homes).

Yesterday, the Peloponnesian Folklore Foundation announced:

With great sadness we announce that a great Greek, a man of fashion, our man, the famous designer Yannis Tseklenis passed away on Wednesday, January 29, 2020 at the age of 82.

Yannis Tseklenis was the man who led Greek fashion beyond the country’s borders. His creations have been sold worldwide by leading stores in more than 30 countries between 1965 and 1991. He drew his designs for the fabrics of his clothes from Greek and world culture.

Also, he had donated all his collections to the Peloponnesian Folklore Foundation “B. Papantoniou “and his works took part in many retrospective exhibitions, such as “Yannis Tseklenis – A Greek fashion designer “, in Thissio Theater in Athens, “6 ‘World’ Greek Designers” in Zappeion, London and Nicosia and the recent, “Tseklenis. The years of fashion “in Nafplio.

Yannis Tseklenis was preparing a large retrospective exhibition at the end of the year, which will be held in his honor by the organizations that had undertaken it.

He had received many honors for his work, including the Silver Cross of the Order of the Phoenix, the Gold Medal of Fashion from the Hellenic Fashion Institute, the Cycladic Daughter of the Greek Fashion Center and the Diolkos Award of the Hellenic Academy of Marketing. He was married to Efi Mela and had a son, Konstantinos, a well-known conceptual artist and filmmaker. ”


Photography copyright: Personal Facebook Page Yannis Tseklenis (Ioanna Nikolareizi)


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