Kridemnon means headscarf in Ancient Greek, and jewellery designer Eva Papadopoulou uses the long tradition of three Greek islands as inspiration to create statement accessories for the summer.
Nay, do thou thus; and methinks thou dost not lack understanding. Strip off these garments, and leave thy raft to be driven by the winds, but do thou swim with thy hands and so strive to reach the land of the Phaeacians, where it is thy fate to escape. Come, take this veil, and stretch it beneath thy breast. It is immortal… – Homer, Odyssey, rhapsody e 342-352
Her background linked Eva to the places as well as the rich history and proud tradition that has been kept alive throughout the ages; passing on sounds, movements and colours from one generation to the next. Meanwhile, her art-loving family owned a foundry, where she worked for a good many years and experienced up close the work of many Greek and international sculptors. It was this experience that lead her to jewellery design, which translated into the series Myths and Legends.
“This has finally given me, and perhaps some of you, the opportunity to wear a piece of jewellery that I imagine could once have been worn by Hecuba or Olympia, maybe Ariadne, or even the beautiful Helen…” she muses.
Her newly-founded brand, and particularly her scarves, have been gaining attention in Greece lately, with several fashion influencers incorporating them into their signature styles.
“My family comes from Skyros and Macedonia and this background has linked me to the history and culture of my country; my source of inspiration for Kridemnon is the language, music, and dance,” she explains.
Eva was inspired by the myths and legends, the comedies and tragedies that have run through Greek culture since antiquity and came to life from the words of Homer, Aristotle, Plato and more. She looked into the symbols that expressed people’s joys and sorrows.
“Kridemnon is the divine headscarf that saves Odysseus from the fury of Poseidon and carries him to the land of the Phaeacians,” she explains.
“Kridemnon also refers to the headscarf of Hecuba, who takes it from her head when she learns about the death of Hector, her son.
Eva’s first collection of headscarves is influenced by the patterns and tradition of Skyros, Crete and Rhodes; three Greek islands completely different to each other, with strong cultural heritage. The scarves feature patterns one finds in the traditional embroidery of each island, juxtaposed with the designer’s contemporary aesthetics.
“I try to create compositions that preserve the traditional Greek element while also updating them in such a way that they have the timelessness and the beauty of the classic, but are modern as well,” she says.
“In time I have come to realise how lucky I am. I am full of joy and feel inspired and grateful, because it is due to my birthplace and its heritage that I have so much to say and so many ideas to express.”
However, the basic idea of Kridemnon – promoting Greek tradition aside – is to support as much as possible the economy of the places that inspired it.
Even though she now lives in Paris, Greece-born and bred Eva has chosen to keep the entire label ethical and organic with all stages of production based in the motherland.
“I did not choose to move to Paris. I just happened to start my own family here,” she reveals. “I’ve been living here for seven years but this year, a dream comes true, and we are relocating to Greece. I couldn’t be happier.”
The crisis has, rather than preventing Eva from pursuing her goal, motivated her to look to small businesses and professionals that cherish their heritage and are determined to keep their rare artisanal tradition alive, delivering goods of incomparable quality.
“The product is printed in local workshops,” she stresses, “while the silk comes from Soufli from Mr Mouhtaridi, and skillful and dexterous women of the island of Skyros finish the scarves by hand.”
Triggered by observations and emotions, yet also very personal experiences, the designer processed forms, shapes and materials telling her own story which she hopes will travel in time connecting Ancient Greece to our modern reality; a symbol that has persisted through time and connects our world with ancient times.
“If only I could find the headscarf of Diogeny that protected him from the sun, the kridemnon of Olympia, carmine in colour and royally decorated with gold jewellery and drenched with the scents of the era, the kridemnon of Antigone that covered her face the night she took her decision. Or the headscarf of Diidamieas that blew in the wind while she was standing at the castle, peering east for the ship of Archilea to show.
“Of course I could never feast my eyes on these headscarves, but driven by my desire I have created from scratch the kridemnon that modern women will be able to behold and use to create a new story, thereby giving it significance. What makes an object valuable in my opinion, what will preserve it, is the history of the person who owns and wears it to emphasise her joys and sorrows.”