“I’m from Thessaloniki, in the northern part of Greece. It’s mainland, but it’s so close to the sea that you feel like it’s an island. I lived in London for several years to go to school, and I actually studied law—my master’s degree is in international intellectual property law, and my PhD is in international intellectual property law in the cinema industry. After school I moved back home, and a friend who was working at the Thessaloniki International Film Festival told me they had an opening for a PR assistant. I thought it might be interesting, so I took the job. Even though my area of study was cinema, I realized that what I actually loved about that job wasn’t the film aspect of it—it was the PR. You get to know everyone, you’re communicating with people from different cultures all over the world, you learn the histories of every magazine… all of that was so interesting to me. I moved back to London and worked as a PR director for several luxury hotels there, and then Condé Nast approached me about this job. At first, I was shocked—I always loved Vogue, and I knew the history and all the editors, but I didn’t have a journalism background, and I never thought I could be the editor-in-chief of a magazine. The executive director said that she saw my passion and thought I could be a good fit. So I moved to Athens.
My ultimate mission is to be a platform for Greek designers abroad. When Vogue Greece closed a few years ago, it was something that nobody believed would ever happen. Bringing it back now sends a very positive message that the Greek economy is stabilizing, and that people are ready to invest in Greece again. Obviously it’s not a local magazine, and nothing gets into Vogue just because it’s Greek. But I want to be relevant to the Greek market, while still having people abroad open up Vogue Greece and think, ‘Wow, the Greeks know how to design.’ We have a long history of fashion—if you go to the museums here, you can see Greek designs from ages ago. And now, we have brands like Mary Katrantzou, Zeus and Dione… this dress is from Zeus and Dione. They respect the heritage of Greek silk, which is very famous, and transform it into something very modern and feminine. Or for shoes, everyone, including Michelle Obama, is wearing Ancient Greek Sandals. We feel a bit proud when a fellow Greek succeeds so much outside of here.
Greek women really use a lot of products. Even during the economic crisis, the beauty industry in Greece was not affected like the fashion industry was. Fashion is expensive, but beauty was something women could afford and wanted to spend on. You want to invest in what makes you feel and look beautiful. In terms of makeup, I would say the look is polished—enough to show that you take very good care of yourself. In the summer it may be more natural, but in the winter, the majority of Greek women really like to put on makeup.
I want to be relevant to the Greek market, while still having people abroad open up Vogue Greece and think, ‘Wow, the Greeks know how to design.’
Beauty is a huge passion of mine. I actually always wanted to be a beauty editor—I know all the brands, and am constantly buying, buying, buying. Now I have a great relationship with my beauty director, and I learn a lot from her. In my routine I find that I often combine British and Greek expertise.
To cleanse, I use the new Elemis Pro-Collagen balm. It smells like rose, and I love it on wet skin. I think Elemis makes some of the best skincare of all time—the company invests so much in research, and you can tell. I’ve been to the House of Elemis in London so many times. After cleansing, I use the Rose Micro-Lotion from Dior. I’m trying to make a whole routine that smells like rose—the scent makes me feel very calm and positive throughout the day, and I don’t have any problems with fragrance. Then I use Shiseido’s Power Infusing Concentrate. Absolue Lancôme is my day cream, and at night I use the Estée Lauder Night Repair. It actually works—when you wake up, your skin is plump and moisturized. Otherwise, I really like the Greek Yoghurt series from Korres. For my eyes, I use La Prairie. My favorite SPF is the Chanel Essentiel—in Greece we have so much sun, and it’s easy to get wrinkles. I don’t want cosmetic surgery, and I’m really focused on aging beautifully and naturally.
We have Sephora in Athens, which is how I get the Too Faced Better Than Sex mascara. Come on! It’s the best. But people visiting Greece should definitely go to Attica. It’s one of the biggest stores in Greece, and they have almost everything—all the beauty products from Greek and luxury brands. Every day, I use primer from Laura Mercier, and then my favorite foundation of all time, Giorgio Armani Maestro. It feels very light, but at the same time it gives me the coverage I want. Because I have very dark circles, I also use the Armani concealer. I love to put some color on my face so I use blush from the apples of my cheeks up to my cheekbones—a bit high, like where the sun would hit. I love the Tom Ford Soleil Winter Palette, and during the summer I use the Estée Lauder by Violette blush Swirling Passions a lot.
On my lips I think a gloss feels young and sexy, or I’ll wear something neutral. I like the this Bobbi Brown in Au Naturale, which is what I’m wearing right now. If I do want bold lips I go to MAC Ruby Woo, but in general I don’t want anything heavy, or matte—I prefer my eyes to be expressive, and to keep my lipstick quiet. On my eyes I use this huge MAC palette, the x15 in Warm Neutral. It’s 15 colors, and they’re all quite natural. I usually use the lightest one, Naked Lunch, on the brow bone. Then I use two darker colors for the outer edges, and blend. I think the MAC 244 brush is really one of the best—it blends very, very well. But if I want a more dramatic effect, I’ll apply the eyeshadow with my fingers. Then I finish with Better Than Sex, or waterproof Better Than Sex in the summer. It’s quite nice.
In terms of makeup, I would say the look is polished—enough to show that you take very good care of yourself.
My hair is very, very curly, and not in a nice way—it’s naturally very frizzy, and the curls have no shape. From a very young age, I started going to the hairdresser to get straightening treatments. Now I do the Brazilian treatment—when I go in the sea it gets curly again, but because of the treatment, it doesn’t get big and puffy. Here in Athens, I go to Anousakis for my hair, and in London I go to George Northwood. But because I was straightening it for so many years, my hair started breaking. Now I use a lot of masks and a lot of strengthening products—the L'Oréal Professionnel Pro Fiber products really helped me get it back to feeling natural and healthy. Finally, healthy.
FRAGRANCE + BODY
Tom Ford Soleil Blanc is my signature fragrance—in summer I’m always wearing that one, and in winter I also like the Rouge Baccarat from Maison Kurkdjian. After work, because I always finish late, I take a very long, fragrant bubble bath. It solves everything. I light a candle, usually Diptyque. Narguilé is fantastic. Then, for the bath, I use either the lavender series from Apivita, which makes me feel so good and calm, or the Elemis Sea Lavender and Samphire Shower Milk. I also find manicures very relaxing. I go once a week, to the same spa that I get my hair done. I’m constantly moisturizing my hands and I really like to have beautiful nails.
Every weekend, I go to my hometown and visit Halkidiki. It’s very close to Thessaloniki, and I think it has the most beautiful beaches in all of Greece. It’s less touristy than the islands, so you can have your privacy, and the waters are crystal clear—it’s amazing. When I’m there, my favorite sunscreen for body is Estée Lauder Bronze Goddess. Obviously. The smell is just so good.”
—as told to ITG
Thaleia Karafyllidou photographed by Tom Newton in Athens, Greece in June 2019.