Ileana MAKRI was born and lives in Greece. A globetrotter at heart, she travels extensively for inspiration and spends a lot of time in London, Paris and New York, cities she has previously lived in.
Originally obtaining a degree in Business Administration Ileana then went on to follow her true passion and studied jewellery design at the G.I.A. (Gemological Institute of America in Santa Monica).
In 1987 she ventured into retail with “Mageia” later to become her flagship store and always a reflection of her diverse world of interests, introducing items that capture her imagination, anything from clothing and accessories to artwork and of course jewellery. Greek for enchantment or magic, “Mageia” has since become a staple for those eclectic Athenians eager to find hand crafted and unique goods sourced during her travels.
In 1996 the “Ileana MAKRI” signature jewelry line was introduced in the store and was instantly being picked up by Barneys in New York. Friends and family quickly spread the word that ensured her first clientele and many more faithful customers followed. There are presently two stores in Athens and one in Mykonos.
In just over a decade Ileana MAKRI has built a solid international reputation and business as well as capturing the attention of high profile clients such as Uma Thurman, Jennifer Lopez, Heidi Klum, Lenny Kravitz, Faith Hill, Rita Wilson, Ashley Olsen, Courtney Cox, Debra Messing.
In 2009 an introduction to London based fashion designer Marios Schwab resulted in a jewellery collaboration for his catwalk presentations. An astonishing collaboration that created enormous press excitement both in the UK and internationally.
Aside from nature and the sea, Ileana is fascinated by multicultural symbols and their meaning. Her jewellery features a range of mystical and figurative symbols in gold and gemstones. “Symbols have a broad, universal appeal that crosses cultures”, says the designer, who draws inspiration from various religious and other beliefs including Greek mythology. Ileana is particularly intrigued by the “evil eye”, a symbol that in Mediterranean countries serves as protection from negative forces.
The collections have an irresistible feminine appeal, stamped by Ileana’s signature refined aesthetic and use of old world craftsmanship as well as the astounding attention to detail and her boundless creativity. The underlying “rock chic” approach to the design makes her jewellery uncompromisingly contemporary and simultaneously timeless. In her own words Ileana MAKRI creates “jewellery for no special occasion”.