Elena Kougianou experiments with 3D printing as well as old techniques for her jewelry. The outcome? Delicate designs you can actually wear. Her Utopia K series is nostalgic and romantic, yet futuristic with a twist. Imagine amethyst and jade with feathers and lace. Here, she reveals where her ideas come from and how she brings them to life.
What does Made in Greece design and production mean to you?
Greece has a very long history of jewelry making dating to the 16th Century BC. A lot of techniques started from Greece while precious, complex designs of gold pieces with precious stones are part of our history.
What inspired you to start the project?
Basically, it was never a project but a pathway. It started gradually after experimenting in other parts of the fashion industry.
What will we find in your Utopia?
Utopia is more of an abstract rather than a specific status. What’s certain is that it is always filled with euphoria and positivity. As for my Utopia, when trying to describe it, I always recall my friends and family with whom I have enjoyed the laid back freedom of Athenian life and unforgettable summers. Music, art, laughter, theatre and dance are always a big part of it.
Which are the artistic movements of the past that inspire you today?
I was brought up in an environment full of design, architecture and love for the arts. Art Deco style has left a big impression on me while Art Nouveau jewelry is a driving inspiration. I now understand the importance of the arts in a child‘s upbringing.
How theatrical and romantic can you afford to be?
A glimpse of theatricality and romanticism always makes a piece of jewelry more feminine. I wouldn’t want my collections to be characterized only by romanticism, as each collection consists of various designs to result in a more powerful and personal style.
Which materials and techniques do you mix? Do opposites attract in design?
Some pieces are entirely handmade, hand-carved with difficult stone settings. Some models are made of wax to look more sculpted while for others we use 3D printing. Often, we combine different techniques. Combining contrasting materials was always a challenge which sometimes succeeds and at other times fails. But it’s still important to experiment!
If you were to design jewelry for a play or film, which one would you pick and why?
I would definitely want to be involved in making the accessories for Andy Garcia’s The Lost City. The whole story takes place in Cuba in the 1950’s with beautiful dresses and impressive accessories. As for jewelry, the movie W.E, based on Wallis Simpson’s life who was a huge jewelry fan, would be my first choice.
How do you pay homage to your Greek roots?
There is great inspiration in ancient greek history, jewelry, philosophy and traditional costumes which I come across throughout my everyday life. I wouldn’t say that my collections look grecian but I can say for sure that they indirectly reference Greek style.
You have a degree in political science. Do politics and fashion ?Politics and fashion were always intertwined. The politics of each country in a way expresses its social and economic situation, which translates to what men and women choose to wear. This is how trends are born. Recession, revolution and rebellion have created some of the biggest fashion trends.
You love to travel. Can you share a special place you’ve traveled to?
Traveling for me is above all the chance to discover new things. It is more about discovering different cultures rather than just being a tourist. A magical place that I visited and felt transported to an eastern fairy-tale was the Oberoi Rajvilas Hotel in Jaipur. As for Greece, Meteora is always breathtaking.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Do your job with faith and consistency and you will be rewarded.Take small risks and be patient.