“I started @kostasmurkudisarchive at the beginning of this year – it was actually my brother Andreas who was forcing me to do it,” laughs German fashion designer Kostas Murkudis, who founded his namesake label in 1994 after a seven-year stint as Helmut Lang’s right-hand man. “I was already running three different accounts on Instagram and this was the fourth, and I thought, ‘why do another one?’ But he said that I should be proud of showing my work!”
The Murkudis brothers are a powerful creative force; Andreas is the founder of a feted Berlin-based concept store, while Kostas designs and consults for a multitude of luxury brands. Their aesthetic prowess extends to social media, exemplified in Kostas’ latest Instagram project, showcasing his rich archive, including runway and lookbook imagery from the late 1990s and early 2000s.
“I mean, there are a couple of posts which are more recent, let’s say from the last ten to 15 years,” says Murkudis. “But there is also old stuff which I hardly have any digital copies of. I had to scan them in, which is why the quality isn’t so crisp...” The designer also notes that he recently visited the Margiela exhibition at the Palais Galleria in Paris, where work from a similar era is on display. “It was lovely, especially because it was curated by the master [Martin Margiela] himself. I saw all these videos and I thought ‘oh my god, this is the same quality of images’ that I have – so, I didn’t feel that bad anymore! If it’s good enough for Martin it’s good enough for me. It captures the spirit of the 90s.”
Revisiting his archive has brought back some fond memories of the first shows Murkudis ever delivered. “They were super emotional, especially the first one after I left Helmut where I hardly had any material to show, and this was very emotional for me – I remember I was in such a panic that this was not going to work out. I thought hardly anybody was going to come. But it was packed.”
Somewhat ironically, Murkudis is utilising the social media platform as a place to remember a time before smartphones were a ubiquitous entity at the fashion show. Scrolling through his curated feed of imagery pinpoints a time on the cusp of the millennium – the last moments before social media took hold of modern life. “People were looking at the clothes themselves, not through the lens of their phones,” remarks the designer. “Those sitting on the front row – journalists and buyers – were making drawings and writing into little notebooks, it was lovely… very romantic, nostalgic. Sometimes everybody was smoking in there! The room was so cloudy, it was so funny – it just wouldn’t be possible now.”
Whilst nostalgia is often the enemy of innovation, it still has its place when recalling the magic of a time lost to the pages of history. Social media accounts such as @kostasmurkudisarchive, also help to contextualise fashion as we know it today, whilst reaching a wide-ranging audience. “Instagram is the best platform to show your work now,” agrees Murkudis. “I mean, I don’t know how else you do it. I do have a website but who looks into websites nowadays? No one – it’s just dead.”