Diane von Furstenberg Files: Athens
I have been to Greece many times over the years, but I’d never taken the time to really see Athens. Heading there for the opening of a second DVF shop, in Kifissia, I decided to go a few days early and finally visit the city properly.
After arriving on a Saturday afternoon, I checked in to the Hotel Grande Bretagne (Constitution Square; 30-210/333-0000; grandebretagne.gr). It’s a classic and has such a history, not to mention the most beautiful views of the Acropolis. Since work didn’t start until Tuesday, I had two full days for sightseeing!
It was a beautiful morning, and I started the day with a visit to the exquisite Greek art collections at the Benaki Museum (1 Koumbari St.; benaki.gr), where I spent a huge amount of time looking at the costumes on the top floor. Afterward I met a friend at the famous Monastiraki flea market, and we walked past hundreds of gypsies selling odds and ends until we reached the hip neighborhood of Gazi. There we stopped for lunch at Mamacas (41 Persophonous St.; 30-210/346-4984; mamacas.gr), and I had souvlaki and eggplant—so delicious!
We then made our way to the new Acropolis Museum (15 Dionysiou Areopagitou St.; theacropolismuseum.gr), where we were given a wonderful private tour. Building the museum—designed by Bernard Tschumi and Michael Photiadis—was a challenge, but the result is a masterpiece. Through a glass floor you can see the excavations, and in one gallery there’s a replica of the Parthenon’s sculptural frieze and views of the temple itself.
First I headed to the National Archaeological Museum (44 Patission St.; namuseum.gr) and marveled at the extraordinary antiquities. And I couldn’t help but smile at an exhibition called “Worshipping of Women”—no wonder ancient Greece is my favorite period in history. Then it was off to the Rebecca Camhi Gallery (9 Leonidou; 30-210/523-3049; rebeccacamhi.com), to see my friend Konstantin Kakanias’s paintings (I bought four). That night Konstantin and I walked by my first store in Kolonaki (5 Xanthou St.; 30-210/362-4004) and had soup outside at Papadakis (15 Fokilidou St.; 30-210/360-8621).
After a lunch given by the Hellenic Fashion Designers Association (attended by le tout Athens!), I decided to climb up to the Parthenon. On the way down, I posed for a photo at the sacred place called Pnyka, where Socrates and other philosophers would meet. In the evening there was a party at the Kolonaki DVF store, followed by a festive dinner at Central (14 Filikis Etairias; 30-210/724-5938; centralfunkyrestaurant.gr) and dancing at the Studio 54–style Venue (130 Peiraios; 30-210/341-1410; venue-club.com).
On my last day, we held the opening for my new shop in Kifissia (14 Kolokotroni St.; 30-210/808-1999) and staged a fashion show in the amazing theater of the Hellenic Cosmos Cultural Centre (254 Pieros St.; hellenic-cosmos.gr). Just one more reason to love Athens, its art, its history, its people.