space of the week

An Ancient Art Gets New Talent

A tour through the showroom of fashion designer turned ceramicist Peter Speliopoulos.

Peter Speliopoulos at his wheel, working on a vessel. Photo: Courtesy of Les Ateliers Courbet
Peter Speliopoulos at his wheel, working on a vessel. Photo: Courtesy of Les Ateliers Courbet

Peter Speliopoulos has long been a mainstay in the fashion world — he began his career in 1997 at Cerruti in Paris and went on to become the senior vice-president of design and creative at Donna Karan. In the past few years, however, his medium has switched from fine fabrics to clay. “It may sound clichéd, but throwing on the wheel is very Zen,” Speliopoulos says. “It is all about centering. I think there is a direct psychological correlation between one’s state of mind and the piece being thrown.” In early September, the former fashion designer’s work will be on display in the Chelsea-based design studio Les Ateliers Courbet. A recent visit to his showroom in Long Island City revealed the full range of his artistic interests and endeavors: a collection of photographs by Daniel Gordon including a self-portrait (seen below), a bevy of wall-mounted African masks, and tables brimming with his ceramic vessels.

The showroom. Photo: Peter Speliopoulos
An assortment of pieces, looking almost as if they’ve been dipped in a jar of confectioners’ sugar, will be on display in Speliopoulos’s solo show at Les Ateliers Courbet. “My ceramics are all hand-thrown on the wheel by me, glazed by me, and signed by me,” he says. Photo: Peter Speliopoulos
A collage still life by Daniel Gordon hangs over a circa 1890 bench from Antigua, Guatemala. Photo: Peter Speliopoulos
Speliopoulos recently designed a linen collection (as well as an assortment of leather goods and shearling pieces) in collaboration with a family-owned atelier in Umbria, Italy, a region he spends a great deal of time traveling. Photo: Peter Speliopoulos
“There are correlations between my ceramic work and my career as a fashion director,” Speliopoulos says. “My vessels’ surfaces — which I look at as their fabric — are tactile. They beg to be touched.” Photo: Courtesy of Les Ateliers Courbet

Les Ateliers Courbet will unveil Peter Speliopoulos’s solo exhibition “Archaeos” in early September.

More From Design Hunting

See All
Inside a Fashion Designer Turned Ceramicist’s Showroom