Shoe designer Christina Martini is a woman of many sartorial talents, but there are two things she’s particularly expert on: her native island of Corfu and how to dress for it.

If your social media feeds – like ours – were filled with frustratingly delicious holiday snaps of friends in the Greek Islands throughout winter, you’ll know Corfu has unofficially become the 2017 hotspot of choice for Australia’s coolest party people. White beaches, clear blue water, carefree cocktail hours, perfect weather … Is it any wonder?

The island has a lure that native Martini, who co-founded successful resort footwear label Ancient Greek Sandals, knows all too well. Born and raised in Greece, then schooled at London’s most prestigious fashion footwear college Cordwainers, and experienced in luxury design after stints at Louis Vuitton, Balenciaga and Iris, she has now returned to Corfu with her family and runs her business from there alongside her business partner and CEO Nikolas Minoglou.

Models wearing Ancient Greek Sandals in the country that’s become a holiday favourite with Australia’s social set
Credit: Supplied

In just five years since its 2011 launch, the pair has built a global brand that boasts fashion-savvy celebrities like Beyonce, Kate Bosworth, Angelina Jolie, Chrissy Teigen and Sarah Jessica Parker amongst its many fans.

“According to an Ancient Greek myth, the gods and goddesses had their sandals made on the beautiful island of Crete by a gifted sandal maker who enriched each pair with magical powers,” says the duo on their brand’s website of the nearby Greek Isle. Such hyped fashion heritage for the holiday region deserves an appropriately magical wardrobe, surely?

Nikolas Minoglou and Christina Martini, founders of the sandal brand worn by Beyonce and Chrissy Teigan
Credit: Supplied

We asked Martini for stylish Corfu packing tips that would work just as well for any island or resort holiday. Here’s what and how you should be adding to your suitcase, stat.

FOR SOMEONE WHO’S NOT BEEN THERE, CAN DESCRIBE THE STYLE VIBE iN CORFU? “It is a big island where the locals have a very relaxed lifestyle and fashion isn’t necessarily front of mind for residents. I really love this about the island. It isn’t necessarily about glamour – instead, it’s about how beautiful and open-hearted the people are. Everyone dresses in a very relaxed way that allows them to really live their beautiful island lifestyle.”

WHY DOES THE FASHION THERE FEEL MORE GLAM? “Corfu was one of the first international travel destinations in Greece during the 1960s. The island has a certain glam that isn’t always evident nowadays, but you can feel it in the air. I would love to see the island again as it was in the past.”

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR OWN LOOK WHEN YOU’RE tHERE? “In the summer, I would describe it as bohemian because I wear a lot of prints and kaftans. In winter, it’s more casual with jeans and knitwear with the occasional leggings and a hoodie.”

These new sandals sporting daisies from the SS18 collaboration with Fabrizio Viti are Martini’s favourites
Credit: Instagram @ancientgreeksandals

WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE SHOE IN YOUR NEW SS17 COLLECTION? “It’s difficult to choose, but I have several I’ll definitely wear next summer. If I had to choose, I’d pick one from our collaboration with Fabrizio Viti, the Louis Vuitton footwear director who just launched his own brand. We did a collection of simple Ancient Greek Sandal styles decorated with daisies and they breathe an air of ‘60s Mediterranean holidays. As I said It’s all about this nostalgic feeling.” [Ed’s note: Pre-sale of the Fabrizio Viti collaboration collection is available now exclusively from Moda Operandi.]

WHAT IS IT ABOUT GREECE THAT INSPIRED YOU TO NAME YOUR BRAND AFTER IT? “Nikolas had thought of Ancient Greek Sandals back in 1998. When I first met him and he told me the name I wasn’t entirely sure about it, but after giving it a some thought I realised that the name really reflects the DNA of the brand. We are inspired by Ancient Greek mythology, art, architecture, pottery and jewellery while using the technique of sandal-making that’s existed for centuries in Greece. Our goal was to remake the tourist sandals that you find on the Greek islands using good quality raw materials and developing the design to make them desirable to women around the world. They’re comfortable sandals with a raw aesthetic that are also feminine.”

tELL US WHAT WARDROBE ESSENTIALS WE SHOULD PACK FOR CORFU:

LIGHT WEAVE CLOTHES “Beat the extreme summer heat in light pieces. Lem Lem kaftans, shorts and long dresses are all perfect.”

LEM LEM COTTON DRESS, $529 AT MY THERESA. SHOP NOW

RETRO RESORT ACCESSORIES A big straw hat, a scarf and big sunglasses to recreate that ’60s Jackie O holiday look.


EMPORIO ARMANI, METAL SUNGLASSES, $225. SHOP NOW
EUGENIA KIM, BUNNY SEQUIN-EMBELLISHED STRAW, $525. SHOP NOW

SWIMWEAR, OF COURSE High fashion brands like Lisa Marie Fernandez are perfect for Corfu.

LISA MARIE FERNANDEZ, MARIE LOUISE BLACK CREPE BIKINI, $500. SHOP NOW

PRINTED PIECES Romantic printed dresses or jumpsuits for a stroll or a horse-drawn carriage walk. I love Athena Procopiou’s dresses.

ATHENA PROCOPIOU, WILD GRACE OFF-THE-SHOULDER SILK JUMPSUIT, $679. SHOP NOW


ATHENA PROCOPIOU, GYPSY SOUL SILK LONG-SLEEVE COVER-UP, $586. SHOP NOW

SMART CASUAL PANTS Capri trousers for a long drive around the island.


SPORTSCRAFT, MARTINA CAPRI PANTS IN PINK SALT, $150. SHOP NOW

FLAT FOOTWEAR Pack sandals for the slippery pebbled streets of the Venetian-built old town of Corfu. Don’t bother bringing heels at all.


LEM LEM X ANCIENT GREEK SANDALS, METALLIC LEATHER SANDALS, $340 AT MY THERESA. SHOP NOW

SOMETHING SEXY Don’t forget a little black dress for a special evening out.

 

CAMILLA AND MARC, SENTRY MINI DRESS, $599. SHOP NOW

Panoramic Image (Top): The Old Fortress the Mandraki marina and view of the Old Town in Corfu Island, Greece
Credit: Getty Images

thoughts?