Katerina Karoussos on the Perfect Hat Under the Greek Sun

Dreaming of the perfect hat to wear this summer in the Mykonos sun? Acclaimed designer Katerina Karoussos shares her secrets.

Through her handmade hats, milliner Katerina Karoussos conveys her affinity for a delicate and nostalgic world. Mykonos is an inspiration for many of her summer creations.

WORDS Despoina Sampson

Diving deep into her memories of this favourite place that she has known since the mid-1970s, she remembers “when real bohemians from all over the world still roamed the Chora alleys with their own personal style”. It is a place that has defined many of the values in her work: her love of uniqueness, her aversion to mass production, and the use of natural materials that transform her hats into timeless collectors’ items. “Mykonos is a place where there are no restrictions; conventional rules do not apply to her.

Katerina lives and creates outside of the reach of fashion and does not feel the need to follow seasonal trends, as her designs aim to highlight and frame the feminine personality. The same is also true for herself: She is a designer who follows an individual path in one of the most extrovert of businesses; a woman who remains classic despite changing fashions all around her. Perhaps that is why she has dedicated two of her timeless creations to Mykonos: “There are two particular pieces inspired by the island that I wear myself every time I’m in Mykonos. They are soft, cool and fit well on the head in order to stay on despite the wind. One is tied on with scarves and the other works as a turban. Both of them recall two special elements of nature: the Delos light that shines on Mykonos and the cooling wind…

Mykonos is a place where there are no restrictions; conventional rules do not apply to her.

Katerina speaks with the same passion for her work that led her to study art in the heart of Manhattan, at the famous Fashion Institute of Technology. Her summer collections are characterised by functionality and finesse. “I want my hats to be as soft as feathers. I refuse to use Chinese paper or polypropylene to lower costs. And I make sure they are functional: Many of them can be folded and put in a suitcase; they have a wide brim to protect you from the sun; and they are timeless, so you may keep them forever …” If she were to organise a fashion show on the island, which spot would she choose? “The old harbour is the only place that, if you clear away the new seats that have been added, remains nostalgic and reminds you of the old days.”