‘Glamour comes from within,’ says designer Celia Kritharioti who has flown in to London especially for Tatler’s Jubilee Gala. Sitting in one of the many beautifully decorated rooms of her Knightsbridge apartment overlooking Hyde Park, her international inspirations are evident in the art-adorned walls, an eclectic mix of modern and historic. ‘A woman in jeans and a blazer can be just as glamorous as she is in an evening dress,’ says Kritharioti.
Growing up in Greece to a family lineage of luxury retail aficionados dating as far back as the late 19th century, Kritharioti’s childhood was steeped in high fashion. Often jetting off to couture shows alongside her mother and seeing behind the scenes of the world’s greatest ateliers in action, she soon became enthralled with the world of haute couture. ‘Paris is where I fell in love with couture. I remember being at Nina Ricci and there was a seamstress with a monocle working on a dress as though it was an art piece. I looked closer and she was crying – I still get goosebumps,’ Kritharioti explains. After a brief stint studying Business Economics in Athens, her calling to the fashion industry grew increasingly loud as she came to the realisation that her life was destined to be devoted to creation.
Kritharioti’s style is opulence in excelsis. Since launching her namesake label, she has amassed a cult following of the world’s most delectably dressed, from Natalia Vodianova to Elsa Hosk, and has seen dazzling career heights; being one of the only non-French designers to present officially at Paris Couture Week and one of even fewer to be allowed at the British Museum to debut her SS20 show. That evening in particular was nothing short of a spectacle. Kritharioti sent the Marchioness of Bath down the catwalk in a crystal flower-adorned sparkling silver gown to a rapturous crowd, counting Queen Anne-Marie of Greece amongst the many jet set guests. ‘I saw an angle of the museum that you cannot see until you enter, and I thought, “Wow, this space is amazing”,’ Kritharioti explains of the location of choice.
But the history of Kritharioti’s incomparable èlan dates much further back than the 21st century. Kritharioti works from Greece’s oldest atelier, originally built in 1906 in Athens, predating the likes of the label’s couture contemporaries Chanel, Dior and Valentino. The building’s storied walls are a continuous inspiration to the designer, ‘Fashion is the combination of the old and the new,’ she says; as is the very definition of haute couture, ‘It should be hand crafted like the hands of a painter, like Michelangelo or Picasso.’
Her penchant for sparkle is beloved by red carpet mavens (see Beyoncé at Jay-Z’s Oscar party earlier this year, Cindy Bruna at the British Fashion Awards 2021, or even Britney Spears at the Hollywood Beauty Awards in 2018) and society starlets alike (Lady Victoria Hervey, Princess Marie-Chantal of Greece and Leonie Hanne have all embraced Celia’s quintessential shine, to name a few). For last night’s event, the designer specially created a Swarovski crystal mini dress in the form of Tatler’s latest cover, a portrait of Her Majesty by Nigerian artist Oluwole Omofemi, which took a staggering 200 hours to create. Worn by Tatler’s Editor-at-Large, Sabine Getty, two of the world’s greatest establishments of style met in haute harmony as Getty danced the night away in the sumptuous piece emblazoned with the Platinum Jubilee collector’s edition magazine.
From dancefloors to debutante balls, galas to gatherings, Celia Kritharioti is one of the most exciting couturiers right now, perfectly executing outré elegance with an elevated refinement. Dedicated to fashion as an art form, you’ll always be best dressed when in the hands of the designer. If you’re going glam, make sure you go for Celia.