Courtesy of the designer
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Initially known for her subtle, sophisticated lingerie, Philadelphia-born designer Araks Yeramyan expanded her horizons in the fall of 2006 when she put forth her first collection of ready-to-wear separates. Her aesthetic isn't singularly focused, but she definitely has an eye for delicacy and ultrafemme details, no doubt the influence of her first sartorial love. In her most recent RTW collection, hitting stores now, there are pastel blouses topped off with pom-poms, simple dresses with unexpected keyhole backs and contrasting-colored pleating, and, of course, her signature sheer details.
A mother of two under two, a blogger, and a collector of golden pigs (there's a backstory), Araks is one of those rare designers whose approach to fashion is conceptual and intellectual yet still very feminine and wearable.
I had the pleasure to talk with the designer about her vision, as well as about
Marcel Marceau and the genesis of a jumpsuit named Tilda.
This collection has some unique pieces. What drove your designs this season?
I happened to come across a photo of a clown, an old French one, and I couldn't stop looking at it. Then I found some other images, of Marcel Marceau, Pierrot, old ballet photography—I just thought, collectively, it all worked.
Who do you design for? What type of woman wears your clothing?
An easygoing, stylish woman. She's subtle, she's personable—she doesn't want to stand out because of what she's wearing, but she stands out anyway because of her quiet confidence.
All your pieces bear a woman's name. Is there significance to that?
I've been doing that from the beginning, since I started designing lingerie. No, there's no real significance. I just thought a woman's name looked and sounded so much more personal than a number.
Which part of the design process do you most enjoy?
The collaboration with my team is my favorite part. Sometimes, I'll be designing alone for a while, and then it'll hit me that I've been on my own too long. I love the energy of involving multiple people like my stylist [for this collection, Kate Young], or my Creative Director [Tony Yumul], who I work with on my show and all printed materials. It's the social dynamic and the sharing of ideas I most enjoy.
I'm sure you're knee-deep in your next collection. Any hints as to what we can expect?
I went a different direction this time. There's a shrunken-schoolboy look to this collection. Think Rachel Feinstein.
You not only design but you also blog on a regular basis. I read in one of your posts that you collect golden pigs. How many do you have at this point?
I don't have that many, maybe five or six. They're really difficult to find! I collect rats now, too, because my son was born last year [in the Year of the Rat]. That's where this all started, because my daughter was born the Year of the Pig.
Click here to see behind-the-scenes photos from Araks' fall 2009 presentation.
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