Interview with Krikor Jabotian Reflecting on his 10th year Anniversary
Krikor Jabotian has always had an eye for detail. The Lebanese couturier, who recently won the Fashion Trust Arabia Prize for eveningwear, remembers even as a child noticing the way his mother’s skirt flared or the sound of his aunt’s heels clicking on the ground as she walked around, but it wasn’t until he started working in the studio of famed couturier Elie Saab that he really developed a love and understanding for embroidery, the ultimate detailing on fabrics.
Jabotian had previously viewed embroideries as a bit “tacky” or “bling-bling,” but seen up close in the creative atelier of Elie Saab, which he joined right after graduating from the well-known fashion school ESMOD in Beirut, Jabotian came to appreciate the level of craftsmanship required to produce dazzling couture gowns.
“Working with Elie Saab was a very enriching experience, especially in terms of embroideries. I began researching embroidery materials, how certain techniques reflected light for example and then I implemented my own interpretation of embroidery in my work,” Jabotian says.
And since founding his eponymous couture house in 2009, at the age of 23, Jabotian has focused on creating opulent designs with refined craftsmanship using different types of hand-embroideries. He has become well known for lavish embroideries on tulle, clustered pearls and his use of the sarma technique, an ancient Ottoman embellishment which uses metal thread (gold or silver) and reflects his Armenian heritage. “With embroidery today, you more or less use the same materials so coming up with new ways to implement them is the challenge,” he remarks.
Be it a dramatic cape or a voluminous skirt lavishly embellished to bring texture to the fabric, his opulent designs rely on a primary palette of champagne and metallic colours, and are usually highly structured, as the young designer takes on a sculptural approach to his creations, adding a flattering volume around the body. One of his earlier collections used silicone on lace, to help create a 3D embellishment that look like a sculpted floral explosion.
Reflecting on his first 10 years in couture, the 33-year-old admits the early years were not easy: “Being young when I first ventured out on my own made me more vulnerable to making mistakes but I wouldn’t change, the good nor the bad. I believe I was adventurous and passionate but I never doubted myself.”
His couture creations have been selected to be stocked at Harrods, London, and he’s hoping to venture soon in to ready to wear, a challenging endeavour for a designer committed to embroideries. “To come up with a design that sticks to your roots as a brand but is something that can be very wearable, commercial and more accessible at the same time is not easy,” he remarks.
The designer has yet to hold a couture show in Paris, but his recent award could soon open new doors, and he is determined to showcase in Paris in the near future: “I want to share my work with people who have not seen what we do and what we are about — to develop our brand awareness and audience reach… and for me, Paris is the capital of couture.”
In his latest Fall-Winter 2019/20 collection, contrasts of voluminous structured pieces versus light and airy silhouettes come together with intricacy and flare. In these subtle yet lavish looks, where jumpsuits evoke the impression of dresses and dresses are ethereal and striking, the use of feathers and embroideries runs common alongside tulle, lace and taffeta.
A version of this story was first published on keyyes.com