When it comes to the world of fashion, Greek-Australian fashion designer Christopher Chronis continues to set trends which are sleek, flirty and as timeless as classic Greece.
The story behind how he became the head designer for Global Designer Brands from the time when he opened his first store in Chapel Street, South Yarra, is an inspiring story of persistence and self-belief.
Chronis, the son of Greek immigrants, grew up in the inner-city Melbourne suburb of Richmond. It wasn’t until the first year of studying civil engineering that he realized his true passion was actually fashion. He dropped out of school and then did whatever was necessary for the next several years to realize his dream of becoming a mover and shaker in the fashion industry.
Beginning in a humble sales position at “Mr. Figgins”, a major high-fashion shoe retailer, Chronis’ hard work and commitment paid off, and within his first year he was promoted to a managerial position. But being one of the youngest managers within the company only inspired him to push further in his career.
Advancement came quickly, and in 1981, he began working for fashion designers Merivale and Mr. John in the retail department of their Melbourne store. Just two years later, in 1983, Christopher earned his chance to become involved with fashion production and design with designer Demitrius, via an apprenticeship.
After working all the way up the fashion ladder, Chronis felt it was time to launch his own brand and he opened his first store in the mid-80’s. In 1998, he even launched his own signature fragrance, “Christos”. It wasn’t long before he opened more stores in Melbourne, Sydney, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom.
Chronis continued his line of sophisticated, glamorous fashion designs but took it a notch higher when he began a new line of men’s and women’s fashions under the Christopher Chronis Designs (CCD), Gas Station, and Christos fashion labels. He also used the CCD brand on a number of café and restaurant ventures.
By the year 2000, however, the brands were in financial disarray and it looked like Chronis’ dream would be coming to an end. But the plucky Greek-Australian refused to give up. It wasn’t long before the stores were rescued by investors Tony Mokbel and Jack Smit, who borrowed $1.4 million to buy Chronis’ businesses.
Chronis remains the head of design for Global Designer Brands, and he has continued to grow his portfolio, designing luxury evening wear collections for men and women for the internationally recognized brand, Playboy.
He has also opened Playboy concept boutiques in Australia and New Zealand and a London flagship store in Oxford Street. Chronis continues to create, never giving up on his dream of designing beautiful clothing for the world. Over the years he has won many awards for his fashions, including The Australian Fashion Industry Award multiple times, and The National Australian Print Award in 1997.
As Chronis keeps expanding his brand portfolio on a global scale, one can’t help but wonder, when will he open a store in Greece?
Besides fashion, he also has a passion for poker, and has even been known to participate in the Aussie Millions Poker Championships. So here’s hoping Chronis takes another of the many gambles he has taken in his life and opens one of his glamorous boutiques in our beautiful country.