Well known for her ‘ne_ne by Marina Nicolaidou’ label, this talented fashion designer was first inspired by clothes at a very young age, when watching classical musicals from the 40s and 50s on TV with her grandmother. “I was, and still am, very intrigued by the history of fashion and how this evolved with the world. I just wanted to be part of it,” she lets on. Experimenting with design in her teenage years, she went on to study fashion at the Istituto Europeo di Design in Rome and London College of Fashion, before launching her ‘ne_ne’ brand in 2002.
After designing a mainstream line for almost a decade, she then dared to produce a line that was truer to her notion of fashion design, exploring the multi-facet and multi functionality of garments through experimental and innovative cuts, always respecting the freedom of movement of the body.
Her research entitled “The Loss of Ethnic Dress-The case of Cyprus” was the inspiration for the “P.S. Forget Me Not” collection first presented at the Beatitude Show held at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, and subsequently in exhibitions in Cyprus and Paris. The collection received rave reviews both in London and Cyprus.
Marina has also served as guest lecturer at the Art department of the Frederick Institute of Technology, while having designed costumes for several theatre productions. In 2007, she represented the Cyprus State Theatre as a costume designer at the ‘Quadriennale’ of Prague while her work for the Beckett x 5 play won Best Costumes award at the 2009/11 Cyprus Theatre Awards.
My Cyprus Insider asks Marina ten questions about her life in Cyprus…read on!
1. Three things you most love about Cyprus…
The beauty of the landscape, the rich cultural heritage, and the clarity of the sky.
2. Beloved spot on the island?
The little village of Lazanias has a special place in my heart. Picturesque and rich in history, the village now has only one inhabitant; the very brave Mrs.Maria! It’s a beautiful and peaceful place which provides me with serenity and some much needed fresh air.
3. Favourite town?
Nicosia being my hometown is the town I know best. I enjoy walking through it, rather than driving. Last spring, I joined a guided tour organised by ‘Historic Cyprus’ with Anna Marangou as my guide and was finally introduced to my town in its entirety – that was a dream come true!
4. Best memory?
I don’t play favourites with my memories but if I have to choose one, it has to be my childhood summers, spent with my family camping by the beach, in the then not so crowded Protaras area. Digging holes in the sand, building sand castles, searching for sea urchins in the rocks and looking out for the tiny crabs that came out at night. And the best part is that we were never called back to the caravan unless it was time for bed. It was an era of nonstop play and discovery!
5. Perfect weekend break?
I love road trips with good friends. From the shore to the mountains and back, avoiding the highway, enjoying the scenery, colours, smells and tastes of Cyprus.
6. A day by the mountains or beach?
Both, as long as there are no crowds!
7. Favourite place to eat?
As Lazanias is my beloved place on the island, I recommend the village’s restaurant Magia Lazania. The restaurant is housed in the old school of the village and has an amazing view of the Machairas Monastery. It serves great Cypriot food and the ‘Makaronia tou fournou’ (baked pasta with bechamel) in my humble opinion is the best in the island!
Then there’s the absolute culinary experience that goes by the name of No Reservations in Nicosia. I recommend it to all who appreciate cooking as an art form and respect their taste buds!
8. Favourite place for a drink?
I enjoy cosy and laid back places and Lola Bar is one of them. Even though I’m not much of a drinker, the zivanomelo (honey zivania) at Prozak in Nicosia has also won me over this winter.
9. If you were to recommend a visitor tries just one local dish, what would it be?
I guess this was the question that led to the invention of mezedes! If I have to pick one it would be trahana soup with halloumi- Cypriot comfort food at its best.
10. Best season in Cyprus?
Spring. The daylight lasts longer and there’s a vivid smell of jasmine and a sense of optimism in the air!