designer spotlight: episode 7.............maurizio mykynos

i met mauro of maurizio mykynos several years ago in nyc at a trade show. i was instantly drawn to the booth with cool, unexpected leather and beautiful linen pieces. and, this was when i lived in aspen and had a very short window of time to wear linen & perforated leather. now that i'm in charleston i'm so happy to be wearing the pieces more often. keep reading to learn more about this family business with mother, father & son. mother is the designer & son handles the sales & distribution. the first 8 questions & 13th are answered by mother & designer & 9-12 are answered by mauro. enjoy.
1) when did you begin the maurizio mykynos collection?
i started it over 35 years ago with my husband. at that point it was more me making pieces one by one and him selling it to local stores going around showing them to shop owners. we didn't know how to name the line and i just had becoem a mother. so i thought how could i bless more my creations than my naming then after my son: 'maurizio'. he's working with us now and complains about it a bit but i still think that small gesture brought us luck! i feel them both as my children.
 
2) what was your initial idea/concept for the brand?
there wasn't an original idea/plan and everything just fell into place as we kept going. as i said, it was just the two of us at the beginning. and, then we got some help with production. now, we are over 40 people but we like to keep the same atmosphere as in the beginning. our stockholders meetings are us three and two ladies that have been with us for more than 30 years. they start with jokes, proceed with bickering and end up with the question: what are we cooking tonight? one of our strengths is that we are so united, like a family.
 
3) you moved from greece to italy for business. how has that changed your designing and business when it clearly has a mykynos vibe?
i didn't move. i wouldn't trade the greek sun, the blue sky and our sea for anything in the world. of course, milan is one of the centers for fashion and we didn't want to let that opportunity slip. so, my son went. it has, of course, been so good for us. we have communicated our product and have much more exposure. but, in terms of design and atmosphere it has remained the same. 
4) please describe a typical designing day?
there is no rhythm is my designing as it comes a lot in waves. one day i can just start early at my atelier and finish 5-6 samples with my assistant or i can sit at my desk for a week going through my archive and sample ideas and nothing will come down. it's a very frustrating time of my season. i find that inner struggle to the point of anger sometimes helps me produce some items i really appreciate. 
(side note from suzi: i LOVE the honesty of this answer. being a creative is often challenging but rarely spoken about outside of friends and family)
5) what do you enjoy most in your career? 
by far and an absolute blessing i have had in my life is to work with my family. i have spent so much time with my husband and son and our relationships have evolved to such an extent because we have affection for the same thing. it is not about the profit. at the end we do this because we enjoy it. 
6) i love the simplicity of fabrics that you use. how do you keep the linen, leather & lace looking new each season?
we are lucky to live in an era where even though there is an abundance of materials we have the luxury to chose while being ecologically conscious. that didn't happen before. you had to either limit your collections to unattractive fabrics or turn a blind eye to what we are doing to our planet. materials are out there. the ability is to see a raw piece and picture it in your head as a finished creation. in this, my team of course help a lot. 
7) well, you know i love to ask you for new colors (yes, again, i am annoying that way!) is there a fabric or color you would never use?
you can never say never in these things but i feel for now i wish to limit myself to natural colors. i do not like very fluorescent colors. they make my eyes tired so to speak. 
8) you sell your collection all over the world. what is different about the american market (the buyers) vs. europe or asia? and, am i your favorite :) ?
it is true that every market is very different and that shows because different parts of the collection sell in different parts of the world. americans love our leather. europeans love our lace. the asian market likes our more simple designs. but, it is also that within the states you can see differences. in my heart, ms suzi you are not our client, you are my friend. 
(suzi side note: the feeling is the same. i always smile when i spend time in the booth or emailing mauro)
9) did you always want to go into the family business? if so, did you know what your roll would be?
i always wanted to be part of the business. for some weird reason nothing else pulled me even from within the same industry. my father has always been my best friend growing up so i naturally spent most of my days at the factory running around. here is a funny little story: every christmas my dad would take me to his factory and tell me santa had put small gifts everywhere so we had to go about in a treasure hunt to find my gifts! it was his way of showing me that properity is hidden amongst all these pig pils of leather and fabrics and machines. i loved it and i can't wait to go into these hunts with my own son. 
(suzi note: ahhhhhhh)
10) what was the catalyst to move from greece to italy? 
we felt there was a glass ceiling in regards to fashion in greece. communicating the product and exposing it became priority so italy was the apparent choice being italian. 
11) you travel a ton for work and having done that myself, yes it can be fun. but, also exhausting! do you have a favorite city to visit that no matter how tired you are you still stay out late to take it in time and time again?
that would be paris hands down! i absolutely love the city. and, of course, the people i see every season coming back. it's beautiful to see how all brands have formed a community and become friends that share experiences and information. i feel that was something that didn't exist before but young people are more open nowadays. 
12) you're about to become a father how do you think that will affect your work life?
my parents personal and work lives were interconnected so i do not really know how it will change from the outside. i hope it will change from the inside. i cannot wait to feel all those unknown feelings i suspect are coming. but, i am sure that bringing your kids to work are going to be the best ones. 
13) lastly, what would you like my customers to know about you? 
we want them to know that we love them. i really mean it. we are blessed to see our customers really showing affection to our creations. and, this for us, is a huge gift. every piece they have is made with love and has a piece of us.
 

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