Saturday, March 26, 2011

A Candid Conversation with Krikor Jabotian

At 24, Lebanese-Armenian designer Krikor Jabotian is something of a wunderkind on the Beirut fashion scene. The talented designer opens the doors to his atelier for The Polyglot, to discuss fashion mentors and the problem with the business of fashion today.

What was your experience working briefly for Elie Saab?I first met Elie Saab in 2007, when he was the jury president at my final graduation presentation for ESMOD Beirut. After he saw my work, I was offered a job as a designer on his creative team. Working at Elie Saab was a transitional period for me, evolving from a student to a greater professional level. That said I also knew it wouldn’t last forever, since I enjoy the freedom and liberty of creating as an independent designer.

Is there anyone in particular who has supported your career from the beginning?I’ve been very lucky over the years to be supported by family and friends, especially my mother. Another great mentor is the Lebanese couturier Rabih Keyrouz, who has made it his mission to support young Lebanese talent. He invited me to showcase my very first collection at Starch, his boutique in Beirut’s chic Saifi village. From there I met my first client Mariana Wehbe, who is my business partner today.

Why did you decide to establish your own atelier/showroom in Ashrafieh last year?Establishing my own atelier was a natural evolution in my career as a designer. Early on I had a vision of creating my own private space, where I could build and develop my inspirations. When I first came across the old Ottoman-era house on Abdel Wahab el Inglizi Street, I immediately fell in love with its colonnaded arches, tiled floors and hidden garden. It’s a place that resonates with Beirut’s unique history and mix of cultures, and the perfect venue for my showroom and the concept behind my brand.

What do you think is wrong with fashion today?When I study the work of great designers such as Madame Grès, Madeleine Vionnet and Jeanne Lanvin, you notice that a lot of time and passion went into the making of their clothes. Every piece is an artwork coupled with perfection and authenticity. Today’s fashion industry seems to be driven by mass production and standardized collections. So much so that the true concept of luxury is fading, uniqueness seems obsolete and it is all about bling!

Is that what your clients are looking for?My clients definitely don’t come to me for bling. They are searching for something unique with a quite sense of luxury. Although I stay loyal to my design philosophy, I also enjoy working with clients to tailor a design to fit them perfectly. At the end of the day I want them to feel confident and beautiful when wearing my clothes.

Is it easy for you to put a collection together?It is a challenging process in terms of seeing myself evolve from one season to another. Designing for me is fun, it is what I like to do best – it is feeling, experimenting, testing, constructing and deconstructing. Moreover, it is emotional, exciting, stressful, draining and above all satisfying.

Images courtesy of Krikor Jabotian and Tanya Traboulsi© THE POLYGLOT (all rights reserved) CHICAGO-PARIS


nouchaline said...

great interview!
Krikor is a great Lebanese designer, his work is amazing :)

Anonymous said...

really unique stuff,, good luck ;)