Designer Lamprini Chantziara worked in several roles in fashion before gathering the courage to launch her own jewelry line. Heavily influenced by her family traditions and her Greek roots, Lamprini’s jewelry combines chunky chains with colorful yarns and gems to form stunning statement pieces. Learn more about the story behind Lamprini’s dazzling collection.
- Hello Lamprini – can you please tell us a little more about yourself?
I was born in the beautiful Greek island of Corfu where I have lived for most of my life in a warm, traditional family. This, along with the flourishing culture of Corfu, which is full of music, poetry, literature, art and architecture, embraced me from when I was a kid and became the catalysts in forming my life as an artist. At the age of 22, I moved to Athens in order to study fashion design. For several years I was employed in the creative and design departments of large firms, specializing in women’s clothing and footwear. I took part in numerous footwear exhibitions in Milan and had the opportunity to travel all over the world, with my frequent travels to India and Far East being the most important in broadening my artistic horizons. For the last few years I’ve lived and worked in Athens, trying to spend as much time as possible in my beloved Corfu.
- When did you know you wanted to become a jewelry designer?
I started my career as a jewelry designer a bit later in life but I can tell you it is my most fascinating journey. I have always had busy hands and an eye for natural stones and unique jewelry. I had very strong ties with my mother and grandmother and I adored watching them use traditional knitting, embroidery and crochet techniques. From a very young age I was searching my grandmother’s drawers to find pieces of vintage fabric and other stuff in order to make dresses and jewelry for my dolls. All this led to an early love and understanding of my craft. I grew up along with my passion about fashion and accessorizing and began to give my handmade pieces to friends as gifts. It was only recently, and I have to admit, after the support and encouraging of my husband that I decided to turn my old beloved hobby into a profession.
- How would you describe your designs?
I can describe my designs as a unique combination of vintage and modern, exquisite and elegant using contrasting elements and striking colors. Each piece in my collection is a reflection of my sensibility, an expression of my individuality and the result of my intention to bring a natural glow to every woman. If I had to use only one single expression for my creations this would be one of a kind.
- What types of materials do you use and why do you work with them?
At my present collection, I extensively use my favorite traditional crochet technique to combine materials such as fine quality knitting yarns, metal chains, crystals and semi-precious stones. Knitting yarn is very familiar to me and provides me with the ability to create endless color combinations, giving to my creations special glow and a vintage touch. I adore combining it with modern materials and create a perpetual game that leads every time to unique results.
- When you were setting up your brand, what challenges did you face and how did you overcome them?
My involvement in fashion business goes well back in the past. What I have learned so far is that standing up and making the difference in this highly competitive and crowded industry, needs talent, very hard work and devotion. I can’t speak for myself about the talent. I can tell that always try to envision unique products and bring them into life. And for sure I can tell that I work for endless hours. I was also lucky enough to meet persons in Greece and abroad that believed in my work and assisted me on taking my first steps in this business. And I will always keep in mind that jewelry design is not a destination for me. It is an exciting journey that never ends and has just started.
- Where do you find inspiration for your designs?
I like to live every moment in the present and find inspiration in everyday things around me and try to capture the beauty in them. I can be inspired during a simple walk in the historical center of Athens or a visit to a museum. I can be influenced by my vacation memories at Corfu or the breathtaking Aegean Islands. From my travel experiences in the colorful and mystic India and Far East. From an old vintage cloth, old furniture or a vintage print. But especially from nature, a great sunset, a stormy sea scene and the extraordinary shapes and color combinations of flowers or sea creatures.
- Can you please tell us about the design process of your jewelry?
I don’t really have a specific procedure for creating my jewelry and I don’t usually sketch on paper before making a new design. One of my favorite things to do is go to the market to buy raw materials that catch my eye without knowing in advance how I will use them. When I get inspired by something I first imagine the piece on a woman’s body and sketch the silhouette in my mind. Then, it all comes out naturally and I usually end up with a piece that has to impress me before all. For me, jewelry design and creation is a live procedure, full of surprises and reversals. It is a daily battle of overcoming myself.
- Who is the Lamprini customer?
The elegant and sophisticated woman. Someone confident who feels comfortable with herself and has a strong sense of style. A woman who appreciates beauty, who doesn't let fashion dictate to her, doesn’t follow the crowd, a label or a trend, but instead, prefers to put her own mark on things and be irresistibly different. And my collections lead to this.
- How would you describe your brand in 5 words?
Captivating – Unforgettable – Elegant - Feminine – Unique
- You are based in Athens – where do you like to spend your free time?
Athens is considered to be a city of contrasts, a combination of ancient, old and new where you can spend your time in every possible way. One of my favorite places, especially during fall and winter is the historic center and the area around the ancient rock of Acropolis. Plaka and the near areas of Thisio are two of the livelier places to shop, eat, drink and enjoy traditional Greek culture year-round. During spring and summer I adore spending my time in places near the beautiful Attica coastline. There are numerous charming and low budget places to eat or drink. From Peiraiki, Mikrolimano and the picturesque Kastella areas, to the spectacular cape Sounio for coffee and a great sunset view from the ancient temple.
- What are the three things you cannot live without?
I cannot live without optimism and hope for the future, the deep blue of the Greek sea and sky and the love of my family.
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