Konstantin Kakanias Illustration Essay


The boldest proclamations in the art world are made by neither critic nor artist, but the high-society Greek style maven known simply as Mrs. Tependris. Mrs. T. does not shy away from eccentricities or theatrics. Rather, she travels the world in search of great art, curious new extravagances, and spiritual enlightenment.

Introduced to the world in 1995, Mrs. Tependris is the alter-ego of illustrator Konstatin Kakanias. “She’s you… she’s me, she’s my mother, she’s the mother I wanted to have. She’s a side of all of our selves,” the artist has said of the character. Of his (real) mother, the jewelry designer Mika Damscou, Kakanias says she “collects pearls” in their native home of Greece.

The New York Times style magazine, T, has found a new and decidedly charming way of approaching the festival of all things luxe which is Paris Couture week. Artist and contributing editor Konstantin Kakanias has made a series of illustrations showing her alter ego, a high society dame named Mrs Tependris, indulging in the endless parade of shows and parties. “She hadn’t been for years,” according to Konstantin, “things have changed, so she was a bit confused when she arrived.” It seems she soon settled back into the the high life though.

The series is called Complicated Coats and Cabinets of Curiosities at Paris Couture (gosh) and consists of Mrs Tependris’ reflections on the things she did and saw, alongside whimsical drawings of her many encounters. Highlights include Donatella having to be lifted off down from the Versace catwalk because her outfit is “too tight, darling”, and a charismatic rendering of go-to architect for luxury retail Peter Marino arriving at the Dior show as his own alter ego, Pedro. Quite frankly, Mrs Tependris looks like a scream; here’s hoping she makes a reappearance at the ready-to-wear shows come September.

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