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In Conversation with Couturier Krikor Jabotian

Krikor Jabotian is known for his exquisite, otherworldly creations. From dramatic capes, to intricate embroidery, and voluminous skirts, the Lebanese haute couture designer of Armenian origins is currently working on his collection for the Vogue Fashion Dubai Experience. The couturier spoke to about his design process and his first ready-to-wear offering.

ALIA FAWAZ: Describe your collections.
KRIKOR JABOTIAN: My House is purely couture though people also relate my brand with bridal collections. I suppose that’s because I work a lot with volume and I often use the off-white color and all its variations. I do two collections a year, ranging from 10 to 15 pieces, but they are all bespoke and are customized according to each client.

How did embroidery come to play such a vital part in your designs?
I was against embroidery until I started to work in Elie Saab’s creative department. There, I fell in love with it and I realized that if it’s done correctly with taste and care, you can come up with jewels to adorn the dresses. I began researching embroidery extensively and gave it my own interpretation. I like to think that the embroidery and the shape of the dress are united to create one garment.

What are you working on at the moment?
I am currently working on my first ready-to-wear collection, which will be showcased alongside seven other designers’ lines in Dubai on the 29th of October with Vogue Italia, for the Vogue Fashion Dubai Experience (VFDE). The organizers asked me to do a pared down version of my work, but it will still be very dramatic—that’s just how I am and how I create.

Had you already considered designing ready-to-wear before you were approached to participate in the VFDE?
I love ready-to-wear and I think that it is necessary to venture into at some point if a designer wishes to become international. More importantly, a designer’s ability to create a beautiful design that is functional and practical is key. To do this is very challenging and very creative at the same time.

interview-lebanese-designer-krikor-jabotian-the-master-of-drama-embellishment-bridal-wear-bTalk us through your design process.
I always begin with a concept and then I sketch dresses of different forms, shapes, and volumes, imagining it on a woman and how it would accentuate her curves and so forth. Then, while experimenting with trial and error—constructing and deconstructing—I will come up with something that I really like, which will make the final cut. I always let my spontaneity interfere in the creative process.

Describe your style and the Krikor Jabotian bride.
I love classicism. I like to stick to traditional, classic looks but then give them a very modern interpretation. A bride wearing my creation looks classical but there is some kind of statement there. I like to believe that my dresses are wearable statement pieces.

Your Spring 2014 collection had lots of red. Would you use more color in the future?
Yes, that was “Akhtamar,” an Armenian themed collection. I would like to do more colors but there are some I can’t imagine myself using, like yellow. I like the muted palette: champagne, gold, and metallic colors—and black, of course. Red too, but it can look tacky if not done right. But then again why not; I may want to try a pop collection one day.

What inspires your designs?
I love to research and learn all the time. I see myself as a sponge—everything I like, I try to absorb. It could also be a certain piece of music or a movie that I have seen. It is a mood that I go through and my mood happens to always be dramatic (laughs).

Who would you like to dress?
I would love to dress Cate Blanchett; I think she carries herself in such a graceful way. I would also love to dress Tilda Swinton who has such distinguished style.

What is your biggest market?
It’s definitely the Gulf—Kuwait specifically. The Kuwaiti ladies are educated and highly exposed to fashion, with an amazing sense of style which is very individual—they would never want to dress like anyone else.
—Alia Fawaz

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