Pavlina Papailiopoulou is one of those effortlessly chic people that were somehow born with good taste. Her brand ippolito is one of the most successful fashion labels in Greece and it is slowly, but steadily gaining international success. I met her on an extra hot summer afternoon, in her new Ippolito Showroom near Sydagma and we chatted and talked about her exquisite designs. Later, we took Gepetto, her super big dog, who is just a year old, and walked towards Koukaki to her apartment, which she will be leaving soon. Here she is, Miss Ippolito, with something old and something new.
I know you get asked this question a lot, but how come you named your label Ippolito?
Ippolitos was my father. He was a creative man, an architect. Unfortunately he passed away when I was just 8 months old, and he has been my guardian angel ever since. My mom was the one who suggested I name my company after my dad. And I did.
You studied Fine arts and Art History in London and then moved to Milan to study fashion design. But now you design accessories, mainly bags.
Yes. I started out wanting to major in something creative. I took a gap year during my studies in London and came back to Greece. That’s when I started making my own clothes or just adjusting the ones I already had. I got to thinking about fashion design and when I got accepted in Milan I was overwhelmed! When starting my own brand, I had to go for something that can be approached and bought more easily. And that would be accessories.
Any plans of developing your produce?
Yes. I want to design dog leashes and colars. And shoes! I have designed some samples, but they come out too expensive. I have to think about that some more. And clothes for sure! I am hoping Ippolito will become bigger and bigger and I will be fortunate enough to have people helping me out and working for me, so I can focus on the creative part of this job.
You have many international buyers. Which countries support you the most?
Apart from Greece, many Eastern Countries, like Japan or Korea. For some reason my designs seem familiar I guess to their aesthetics. They are more minimal than other Greek designs I suppose.
Greeks aren’t minimal?
Well most of them love the ornaments and the ruffles and frou frous. And that’s totally ok. It’s their style.
Where do you get your fabrics and leathers from?
The leathers I get from Italy. Everything else is produced and made in Greece. I wish I could get the leather from here as well, but because there aren’t any big companies in Greece, sometimes I find it hard finding the exact tone color in large quantities.
What was the most challenging thing when you got Ippolito started?
I think the sales part of the job. I still find it hard. But to become known, or to meet people and make connections, that was easy. I had friends and friends of friends supporting me and I really appreciate this. When it comes to sales though, again I have to say I am the only person working for me, I find it super hard to bargain or to be all publicity-pro and talk non stop about me and what I do. It’s just not me. I prefer to let my designs speak and just stay in the back to do all the creative work.
You use a lot of colors, especially in your latest collection. Which would be your favorite?
Green and navy blue. Green because I believe it is really calming to look at and it’s the color of hope and nature and navy blue because it is so classy, even classier than black, but much bolder.
Your SS 2013 collection will also pay a tribute to colors?
Yes, but I am leaning towards bolder combinations and high contrasts.
What is the best thing about your job?
The process of seing a design become an actual 3d object. And it’s challenging as well. Sometimes I design something and I am so sure it will turn out just lovely, and when I see the model I say to myself: ‘What were you thinking?’ and other times I don’t have much faith in a design and when you see the actual bag it looks splendid.
And the hardest part about your job would be?
The fact that I do everything on my own. I am currently looking for an intern, who knows about this business and has design and fashion skills. It’s just that at the end of the day, you are the designer, the sales person, the tax person, the pr person… so many things!
A few comments on the things pictured above: The man in the small picture frame is Ippolitos, Pavlina’s father. / Pavlina’s dog Guiepeto has his own tumblr. He is super big and when he gets home he becomes super lazy. / The paintings that hang over her bed are made by her. So is the dark painting she is standing in front of, wearing her mother’s Lanvin vintage stripped dress. / The red dress worn in the kitchen was designed by Akira Mushi. / The olive green and orange shoes are designed by Pavlina. / Her good friend Ioanna Tsigarida is the one who taught her how to feel relaxed when being photographed and pose properly. / Pavlina was by far the fastest outfit changer I have ever shot for imatioθiki.