Stavros Melissinos, The Poet with his late wife Sophia

Stavros Melissinos, a second-generation shoe maker and also a poet, wanted to be a film and television director but his ambitions were cut short after his father’s untimely death, in 1954. His maternal side of the family were descendants of the celebrated Greek War of Independence general Demos Tselios Ferentino. Demos Tselios, besides being from Missolonghi, was also a contemporary and a comrade in arms of Lord Byron, the poet, who died for the Greek Cause, in Missolonghi, on the 19th of April, 1824.
After high school, Stavros Melissinos, served as an officer in the Greek army. There he started writing his first love poems, whose recipient was his future wife Sophia Apessos. Around 1954, he quit the army and started studying cinema at the Stavrakos School, in Athens. But, as mentioned earlier, he had to abandon all his future plans due to his father’s death. Bthe  to Sophia, his Muse and greatest devotee for all those years, who unfortunately passed away in 2007. Stavros was meant to relaunch the Ancient Greek Sandal fad, in the 50’s, when an English lady-choreographer asked him for a few pairs of ancient Greek looking sandals. In the beginning he refused but Sophia, his business oriented wife, reminded him of the political and economic chaos in post-war Greece and because it was really hard to live on poetry, he finally  accepted. He made some six pairs for that lady and some extra ones that he put in the store window. And that was that, the rest is history. The first post war American tourists and especially the young girlfriends or wives of the US army men, stationed in Greece, loved them so much that they started buying them like donuts. They, and the celebrities that started pouring in, were the ones that spread the sandal news around the world.

Sophia Melissinos -Stavros Melissinos’ wife, when she was 40 years old

Stavros Melissinos’ maternal great-great-great grand father Demos Tselios, a fighter of the Greek war of independence (1821)

Stavros Melissinos with Jackie Kennedy Onassis and friends

Stavros Melissinos and his wife Sophia dancing in the 70s

Stavros Melissinos in his study, in the late 50s early 60s

Stavros Melissinos in his sandal workshop