London-based, Greek-born designer Sophia Kokosalaki died suddenly Sunday night at age 47 after a battle with cancer.
An Athens native with roots from Crete, Kokosalaki received international fame for her elegant drapery and chic wedding dresses. Celebrities including Chloë Sevigny, Kirsten Dunst, Gwyneth Paltrow and Cameron Diaz, among others, wore her designs on the red carpet.
Kokosalaki made the dress that Icelandic singer Bjork wore at the closing ceremonies of the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens (pictured below). As Bjork sang, her dress slowly unfurled to reveal a 10,000 square foot map of the world, which she let flow over all of the Olympic athletes.
She received an Elle designer award and the Art Foundation award for fashion in 2002 and a new generation designer award in 2004 and received regular publicity from Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar and W magazines.
In 2015, Kokosalaki designed the new uniforms for the cabin crew of Aegean Airlines. After learning of her passing, the company posted a message on Facebook to share its condolences and thank her for her work.
“Sophia Kokosalaki, thank you for joining our family and helping us take your unique “Grecian chic” inspirations around the world,” the company wrote in its announcement. “Our thoughts are with her family and loved ones.”
The international fashion community is mourning her death, which has garnered condolences from fans, other designers, news outlets and others.
Vogue Magazine published a tribute to the late designer which refers to her as a “feminist prophet for a London fashion generation.”
Fellow London-based Greek designer Mary Katrantzou took to Instagram where she shared a photo of Bjork wearing Kokosalaki’s dress in 2004, accompanied by the following message :
“Thank you @sophiakokosalaki for making us all feel proud to be Greek. For communicating the values of our culture far beyond our borders through your incredible talent, intelligence and charisma. In the short time I had the privilege of knowing you you showed me, before I even knew myself, what real strength means and the razor sharp focus that is needed in our industry. I have always been in awe of your determination and the values you lead your life with, always in your own terms. The news today shocked me and it’s difficult to come to terms with it.. It is very very sad. Rest peacefully Sophia.. Sending my most heartfelt condolences to those who were closest to you and to your family”
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