19 years have passed since KΑΣ (Central Archaeological Council) rejected Calvin Klein’s proposal for a fashion show in the Herodium Theater. A week ago, the Greek archaeological body said “No” to one of the famous Italian fashion brands, Gucci. Essentially, Gucci asked Greece to for permission to hold a fashion show in front of Parthenon at the beginning of June.
The number of guests would be around 300, with 20% of them being Greek artists and Hollywood stars and the other 80% foreign fashion editors and journalists. If their request was accepted, Gucci would give 2 million EUR to the Greek Ministry of Culture for the reconstruction of the Acropolis.
The disagreement was heavy, as ΚΑΣ believed that this monument, a UNESCO World Heritage site is not suitable for this kind of exhibition. It needs to be noted however, that the Greek minister of Culture, Lydia Koniordou, expressed her agreement with the ΚΑΣ decision, due to the importance of preserving the monument. Others emphasized the danger for this monument to be defamed in case of a sketchy fashion show. Furthermore, many Greeks also disagreed with this proposal as they not only think that is wrong and incompatible for these monuments to be used for commercial purposes, but mostly because they think there is no need to further promote Greek monuments, as they are world-renowned, recognizable, and everyone around the world already knows of both their existence and their cultural significance. Around 2 million people visit the Acropolis each year, with some people believing that this is too many and a probable increase in visitors may be harmful to the monument. In addition, many thoughts that renting the Acropolis for 2 million EUR was was too low.
However, given the current economic situation in Greece, with a lot of campaigns organized every year in an attempt to promote Greek civilization and culture, financed by taxes. With this in mind, it has to be taken into account that a fashion show organized and paid for by Gucci, would undoubtedly attract more tourists and travelers. Not necessarily just to the Acropolis or Athens, but all over the country, even in the most remote and stunningly beautiful places. According to some sources, Gucci claimed that Greece’s income from TV promotion could reach 55 million within in the long run. Additionally, such an exhibition would come hand in hand with the arrival of many foreign journalists, models, designers, actors, and photographers, not only helping spread the Greek lifestyle and civilization to their countries of origin, but also boosting the business of other industries, like the accommodation sector.
There is no need to emphasize that I do not support “sacrificing” the Parthenon in the name of profit (and fashion) and here is why: Firstly, the Parthenon could be rented to Gucci for a fashion show, if we were already sure that the company would respect the history of the monument. Some years before, in one of their media campaigns, Gucci “dressed up” Ancient Greek statues in bags, dresses and other accessories. Their action was, no doubt, unacceptable, with Gucci later apologising for their mistake.
In any case, just “using” an archaeological monument, does not necessarily come with it’s destruction or defacement. On the contrary, I believe that it could even advertise it. In any case, Greek monuments all around the country have been (and will continue to do so) an integral part of our daily life. The only way to “bring them to life” is if we co-exist in harmony, not only by admiring them as a relic of the glorious days of the past. It is not about “learning the history”, but more importantly, continuity.
In conclusion, I am inclined to believe that the Gucci proposal cannot be that easily condemned, as the Greek Archaeological Body could theoretically set some certain requirements to ensure the high-quality of show. Also noting that Gucci is a fashion brand well known for its prestigious and quality shows, would be more than able to give Greek “color” to the whole so.
If only Greeks people learned how to manage and promote their cultural heritage in the same balanced way.
This article was written by a guest journalist:
Clio Anagnostopoulou, 17, Greece
A 17 year old student interested in journalism and financial issues, Clio enjoys debating with different people, as she strongly believes that diversity makes us stronger and more capable of solving social problems. With her belief that “life is a sum of all our choices”, it is in our hands to take the right decisions, even if luck is not in our favour.
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