Fri. Jun 2nd, 2023

Known for its crystal clear waters and exclusive party scene, it’s apparent to all how Mykonos has transformed over the past decade into one of the top destinations in Europe. International luxury maisons like Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Bottega Veneta have all hurried to secure a presence here in various prime locations, not to mention the sprouting independent retailers in Mykonos Town each showcasing what the island has to offer. The best of Mykonos style is distinctively different from that of Ibiza or St Tropez — polished yet relaxed, chic yet not overdone, daring yet not distasteful.

Second generation to the Liakotits family and carrying on the fashion business they grew up with, Spiros and Philipp Liakotits are the creative minds and tastemakers behind Mykonos’ best luxury outlets — the first Off-White mono-brand store in Europe; Loewe at Nammos Village; and the Liakotits brothers’ most treasured concept store: Simple Gallery.

In a bold move amid the global pandemic in 2020, the Liakotits brothers decided to expand in Mykonos with a unique destination that combines art and fashion, with a curated shop-in-shop concept — and Simple Gallery was born. Home to a series of carefully selected brands, Simple Gallery has become the must-visit spot for trendsetters, hosting a string of established names this season including Palm Angels, Tom Ford, Missoni, Alanui, and Lanvin, as well as fresh talents like Casablanca and Blue Sky Inn — the latter also launched an exclusive collab set for the store.

The Liakotits brothers recalled how the idea of Simple Gallery materialized: “As a family, we brainstormed all the opportunities and after learning about this building was coming on the market (ex Brunello Cucinelli), we decided to make a move.” Now the expansive, dual-level store sits comfortably next to Christian Dior and Off-White in the most desirable and quaint location in Mykonos Town.

“After signing the contract in January 2020, we started travelling from Tokyo to New York to Europe to present our business plan, seeking out new trends, negotiating and closing deals for the upcoming season. We notice that the market is evolving so fast, especially with the e-commerce booming.”

But the concept of Simple Gallery has always been clear. “We aimed for providing a unique experience to our customers, a luxury destination that links art with fashion, a ‘trading museum” if you’d like.” The Liakotits brothers explained, “As the fashion industry has always taken inspiration from artists in terms of design, pattern, and shapes.” Just this summer, the brothers hosted the exhibition of Daniel Arsham, a New York based artist “with considerable impact on our era.”

Surprising to many, both Spiros and Philipp are incredibly hands-on with the space they have created. “We are the buyers of Simple Gallery. We have a clear idea about what we are looking for: primarily brands making ultra-high quality products, often in Italy, that have a precise and recognizable identity.” the two further added: “They need to reflect our style of luxury, to have a well-organized business structure with reliable manufacturing, and worn by actors or others in the public eye who reflect our taste.” Spiros and Philipp try to add 5 upcoming designers to the store’s mix every season. This year these are Blue Sky Inn, Casablanca, Gallery Dept, Marine Serre, Objects IV Life, Coperni and Andrea Adamo.

Their good taste clearly paid off. Since its opening, Simple Gallery has seen some of the most famous faces and you might just bump into the who’s who of the world in this chic space, like Peggy Gou, Black Coffee, Daniel Arsham, Iza Goulart, and Bella Hadid to name a few.

Despite having grown up with the family business (Simple Caracters was established by Spiros and Philipp’s parents, Rania and Dimitris Liakotits, in 1989 and has grown into one of the most famous luxury fashion retailers in Greece), the brothers have each gone into studies in finance/economics in prestigious universities in both Greece and London.

The brothers still remember their first fashion memories vividly. For Philipp, it was joining their father on a business trip to Italy at the age of 12. “There was a shoe exhibition in Milano, and we spent all the day exploring new brands. The exhibition was huge, and you can I imagine how tired I was. Later this night we went to a business dinner with some colleagues and I fell asleep at the table.”

Spiros recalls some naughty moments as a child: “One my first memories in fashion is a ‘behind the scenes’ one. We always worked to support the inventory control on the warehouse after school or on the weekends. So every time we had a new delivery at the beginning of each season there were huge piles of clothes wrapped in their nylon waiting for barcoding, and after a while my brother and I always launched into big jumps pretending that it was a giant swimming pool.”

By making a conscious decision to concentrate more on luxury products, the Liakotits brothers have also pivoted considerably from the family’s previous focus on medium to high level products targeting a wider audience.

“Our main manifesto on this new journey is to catch the wave at the right moment, surf it with a long term view. Based on this strategy, we decided to open the first mono-brand Off-White store in Europe in 2018 located in Mykonos, thanks to the strong relationship and trust we had with Virgil Abloh and to their Italian team.”

“We are also proud to team up with a unique brand of LVMH group that focus on the craftsmanship and the quality of their products,” — the two comment on the partnership with the Loewe store at Nammos Village, a stunning shopping complex behind the famous Nammos Restaurant and beach at Psarrou gulf.

Each of the two offers something unique in supporting and completing the business they are in. A self-dubbed “behind the scenes” guy, Spiros tells me he loves working out P&Ls and making sense of Excel data sheets. Whilst Philipp’s solid understanding in designing and crafting a product as well as cost control has led him to the initial stages of trade-marking and commercializing 3D printed objects.

Both Spiros and Philipp are now focusing on increasing the level of the brand matrix of Simple Gallery to include more top tier designers, whilst keeping a close eye on any real estate opportunity on the island that can be turned into a success story. “Our goal ideally in the near future would be to venture outside of Mykonos and Greece, branching into another resort destination in another part of the world.”

You can now visit Simple Gallery at 30 Kalogera Str., Mykonos, 84600. The concept store will officially launch its e-commerce site in October 2022 — stay tuned.

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