Well-known fashion designer Sophia Kokosalaki passed away from cancer at the age of 47. She was a talented and successful fashion designer known for her draped, softly flowing lines, inspired by ancient Greece.

“It is extremely sad when a young person, a creative spirit, a dynamic and self-made woman who starred in the harsh and competitive world of international fashion for a 20-year period, dies”, said Greece’s Culture Minister Lina Mendoni. “Sophia Kokosalaki was inspired by Crete which she adored and by the costumes of ancient Greek and folk traditions. She transformed these influences into contemporary creations, pleated clothes and jewelry, like sculptures that borrowed elements from the ancient microsculpture. Sophia conquered the world of fashion, promoting Greece and its timeless culture. Her contribution in designing the costumes for the opening and closing ceremonies of the Athens Olympics has been instrumental in their worldwide appeal. Sophia Kokosalaki’s talent and radiance honored Greek creation internationally. Her absence will be felt. I extend my heartfelt condolences to her family and friends”, the Minister of Culture said.

Who was Sophia Kokosalaki

Sophia Kokosalaki was born in Athens in 1972 and studied literature at the University of Athens. At the age of 24 she was accepted to the Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in London where she graduated in 1998. A professor in college, encouraged her to look inside herself to find her own images.

She also designed the high-end Diesel Black Gold for three years, from 2009 to 2012, created collections for Topshop and worked on the relaunch of Vionnet, the French heritage house. In the meantime she had collaborated with the Greek magazine Woman on fashion issues, while her creations were already being sold in Greece. In 1999 she presented her first collection for men and women.

In 2002 she received the ELLE Magazine Award and she also was commissioned to design the costumes design for the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2004 Olympics. Over six thousand people were dressed by Kokosalaki for the opening ceremony, most notably the Icelandic singer Björk who performed “Oceania” in an enormous ocean-inspired dress composed of many pleats and folds. In 2004, she also won the New Generation Designer Award.

Sophia Kokosalaki had designed for charity; like the collection of bracelets released exclusively by ELTA (Greek Post Office) of which the proceeds went to the IFG Foundation for the purchase of equipment at the pediatric units at Rethymnon Hospital.

Kokosalaki is survived by her husband and daughter.