Kostas Murkudis

Alessandro Esculapio

Designer Biography

DOI: 10.5040/9781474260428-FPA269

Kostas Murkudis was born in 1959 in Dresden, Germany. Of Greek descent, Murkudis lives and works in Berlin, where he studied at the Lette Verein School of Fashion. After graduating, he worked for Wolfgang Joop, founder of the fashion and cosmetics company JOOP, and for Austrian designer Helmut Lang. His seven-year collaboration with the latter strongly influenced Murkudis’s approach to fashion, especially in the conceptual use of materials and a tendency toward deconstruction.

Between 1996 and 2001 Murkudis produced seasonal women’s ready-to-wear collections. In 1997 he also created a menswear line. Characterized by a minimalist aesthetic and easy wearability, his designs combined unexpected details and unorthodox materials with traditional tailoring and craftsmanship. These contrasts were created, for example, by sewing together silk and synthetic fiber panels in the same garment, so that the organic and the artificial material would become indistinguishable. Murkudis thus subtly questioned the validity of the opposition between original and counterfeit. Another recurrent strategy in his late 1990s collections was the unconventional use of transparency. For the spring/summer 1998 women’s wear collection, completely or partially see-through tops unveiled the breasts of the models and thus challenged notions of acceptability. Asymmetrical hemlines and relaxed suit jackets also highlighted the designer’s interest in working with and around the body rather than attempting to reshape it.

Since 2000, Murkudis has worked as creative director for several brands. The first collaboration, with Greek fabric supplier Hellenics Fabrics, resulted in the Kostas Murkudis Denim collection, which was presented as part of his spring/summer 2001 women’s wear show in Paris. Unusual denim garments such as dresses and jumpsuits were shown alongside more traditional ones like jeans and jackets. Murkudis was subsequently hired as creative director for the Italian ready-to-wear brand New York Industrie, where he designed both women’s wear and menswear until 2003. Mixing urban sleekness with a relaxed silhouette, the collections revolved around the reworking of key pieces like the suit and the jumpsuit. Murkudis also brought a more conceptual approach to the brand, favoring multifunctional designs such as trousers that could be turned into a vest and were included in the fall/winter 2000 collection.

In 2003 Murkudis relaunched his ready-to-wear collection but kept collaborating with many different brands and textile companies. Between 2004 and 2006 he collaborated with product design label HALTBAR (meaning “durable” or “long-lasting”) on unisex collections based on the German work wear tradition. The aim of the project was to create simple and functional garments that would last for several seasons rather than follow cyclical trends. Murkudis subsequently collaborated with the underwear manufacturer Schiesser, with whom he has been producing men’s and women’s wear and lingerie lines since 2005, and with cashmere producer Johnstons of Elgin on the Murkudis-Johnstons collection. In 2008 he also started the diffusion line M by Kostas Murkudis for the Karstadt department store.

The work of Murkudis has also attracted the attention of the art world since 1998, when he participated at the Florence Biennale with an experimental fashion film. Since then his designs and film projects have been featured in several exhibitions in Berlin, Basel, Athens, Vienna, and Tokyo.

References and Further Reading

Find in Library Jones T., and A. Mair. Fashion Now: i-D Selects the World’s 150 Most Important Designers . Cologne and London : Taschen, 2003.

Find in Library Phaidon Editors. Sample: 100 Fashion Designers—010 Curators . London and New York : Phaidon Press, 2005.

Find in Library Schneider Stephanie , and Daab Media , eds. Kostas Murkudis . Cologne : Daab, 2009.