2015 looks set to be a bumper year for Mykonos, with the island tipped as the top European holiday hotspot destination by the travel search website Skyscanner. Mykonos even ranked in the top three of all holiday hotspots worldwide on Skyscanner’s rankings, which were based on research of millions of Skyscanner flight searches as well as research by trend forecasting companies The Future Laboratory and Trendhunter.
The results come as no surprise to those familiar with Mykonos, with the island’s natural beauty and stunning nightlife enjoyed and appreciated by an incredible number of the talented and famous in recent years, including FIFA World Footballer of the Year Cristiano Ronaldo, supermodel Naomi Campbell, and Hollywood A-List stars John Travolta, Johnny Depp, Russell Crowe, Hugh Jackman, Melanie Griffith, Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta Jones. The creme de la creme of cutting edge fashion designers are familiar sights around the island, with Dean and Dan Caten of DSQUARED2 holidaying in Mykonos, and regular repeat visits by fashion titans Giorgio Armani and Jean-Paul Gaultier.
But how did this idyllic island transform from a quiet sleepy place into a global mecca of artists, creatives and the international jet set, offering some of the best nightlife experiences in the world? For the answer to this question, we need to take a trip down memory lane. One story of Mykonos’ development starts with Joseph Salachas, a Greek tailor who moved to Mykonos in 1933. Salachas is credited with creating the first pattern for women’s trousers in all of Greece, which he began selling to visitors to Mykonos, including many of the cosmopolitan elite of Athenian high society, who would visit the island to enjoy its stunningly beautiful beaches. During a research visit around Greece in 1953, Christian Dior stopped off in Mykonos, and was said to be so taken with the design of the trousers worn by the female guests of his hotel that he asked for the tailor’s name. From this chance encounter, Salachas received an order from Dior, and he became known internationally as the “Dior of Mykonos”. His reputation as a fine tailor helped to put Mykonos on the map as a top destination for those in search of cutting-edge fashion, which was aided by Mykonos’ strong centuries-old tradition as an island that produced beautiful and unique textile designs. One of Salachas’ most famous and glamorous of clients was Princess Soraya, actress and wife of the Shah of Iran, who was a regular visitor to Mykonos.
Through the star power of well-heeled royalty like this, Mykonos began to be known as an exciting destination for glamorous stars of the silver screen, with Marlon Brando, Grace Kelly, and Liz Taylor all paying visits during the late 1950s and early 1960s to savour some of the island’s laid-back relaxing charm. Jackie Kennedy first visited Mykonos as First Lady, and would later revisit the island frequently by yacht after her marriage to Aristotle Onassis. These stars would be photographed enjoying the delights of the winding historic streets of Mykonos, or walking the island’s beautiful beaches, and Mykonos’ status as the holiday hotspot of the VIPs continued to grow.
The island’s beauty made it an ideal destination for any creatives looking for a place to both unwind and be inspired. This included the master architect Le Corbusier, who remarked on seeing Mykonos’ beautiful traditional architecture that “Unless you have seen the houses of Mykonos, you cannot pretend to be an architect.” The advent of the 1960s hippy era made underground stars of some of Mykonos’ more secluded beaches, including the beautiful sandy cove of Panormos Beach, which is located directly in front of the Mykonos Panormos Luxurious Villas. Sited at the end of a small track, Panormos Beach was the best ‘hidden’ beach on the island during the 1960s and 70s, which made it an ideal location for the famous visitors flocking to the island who wished to escape the international media glare, as well as free loving hippies, which meant the beach became a popular nudist haunt.
Perfectly located right on the beach is the Panormos Beach Restaurant, an all-day summer restaurant and bar which is one of the most relaxed places to unwind on the whole island. The restaurant embodies the boho chic ambiance of 1960s and 1970s Mykonos, with relaxed and comfortable decor. Those in search of a warm welcome, a super relaxed and laid-back vibe, and some of the best food and drink on the island could do worse than pay a visit here after a swim in the beautiful blue Aegean sea. The dappled sunlight streaming through the camouflage net of the roof and the soft cushions and bean bags make this the perfect place to sip a cocktail whilst looking out over the beautiful golden sand and imagining you’re an international movie star, royalty, or world renowned fashion icon!