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Vasilis Loizides New York designer

The Cypriot designer obsessed with ancient history, astrology... and Enya

New York-based Parsons graduate Vasilis Loizides creates imaginative collections rooted in his own personal experiences

When it came to his SS19 collection, Vasilis Loizides had Cyprus in mind. Having grown up on the Mediterranean island before heading to New York to enrol on Parsons’ prestigious fashion course, the designer has long felt drawn to his homeland’s storied, and truly ancient, history – and more particularly, its gods, monsters, and wild myths and legends.

“I think the one I love the most is the story of Arachne, which is kind of related to fashion and what I do in a way,” he explains. “She was sewing all these beautiful things, but she got too arrogant – she started telling people that she was better than the gods, until Athena got mad and turned her into a spider. Arachne spent the rest of her days weaving spider webs, but without any artistic consideration for what she was doing. Athena took the art away and instead made it a habit or a necessity, which is so sad, right?”

Thankfully, the beautiful but ultimately tragic tale is not one Loizides can relate to. Since graduating in 2017, the designer has been making a name for himself with his imaginative and wildly beautiful genderless collections made up of softly draped tailoring, knotted satin tunics which swathe around the body, and corsets finished with enormous, ballooning sleeves. They’re also often very personal, with SS19 embellished with prehistoric Cypriot artefacts, picture postcards, and huge, billowing poppies – “the symbol of eternal sleep back home”.

With his clothing giving off the feeling they could themselves be future artefacts, it’s perhaps not surprising that he’s garnered a significant following in a pretty short time: with the likes of Dev Hynes, Yves Tumor, and reigning Drag Race queen Aquaria among those wearing his pieces.

When it comes to who he’d most like to see in his clothes, though, the designer has his heart set on someone you might not necessarily expect: “Enya – I’m obsessed with her!” he laughs. “I mean, she lives in a castle by herself with all her cats, and I think, as a person, she’s someone who lives on her own terms and doesn’t follow guidelines. To me that’s really inspiring.”

Now, the designer releases his first ever film, Alma – a quiet, sweetly intimate snapshot of a day in the life of Alma, a trans woman living in New York who Loizides met through friends. “I was really inspired by Belgian director Chantal Akerman’s film Jeanne Dielman, 23 Commerce Quay, 1080 Brussels, which basically just follows Dielman as she goes about her mundane daily business,” he says of the short, which was directed by Deni Cheng. Wearing a series of Vasilis Loizides looks, Alma prepares a meal, enjoys a glass of Chardonnay, talks to a friend on the phone, and heads out on a blustery walk to the river, while simultaneously discussing her emotions, her desire to hire a car and drive until the gas runs out, and modern mediocrity – before finally asking the question we’ve all raised at some point: ‘Is this it?’.

“Alma is very much someone who gets lost in her thoughts, and I feel like escapism is a big part of the brand, so there was this synergy between her, what I create, and what I wanted to create with this film. She has such a beautiful, strong look and presence, and she’s a Cancer so she’s very sweet. We’ve become really good friends.”

With Alma set to be the first of a series of filmed portraits, Loizides is getting ready to turn his attention to the next chapter, in which the starring role goes to his boyfriend. “He’s a Scorpio, so it’s going to have a totally different energy to Alma I think,” he explains. “I like Scorpios a lot because they’re really trustworthy and loyal, but also fun and passionate, and mysterious. I’ll let you know how it goes!”

Watch the film below.