Early Influence and Italian Exposure
Born in Yerevan, Armenia, Vahan Khachatryan had art and aesthetics imprinted on him from his early days. His grandfather, an established painter of his time, left a lingering artistic legacy that would come to shape Vahan’s career. The leap to Italy for formal education marked a significant milestone in his fashion journey. Studying at the esteemed Accademia Italiana of Florence and working with the iconic Italian fashion house Dolce & Gabbana acted as a crucible, shaping his distinctive style. This blend of Italian baroque and French rococo with Eastern geometric clarity speaks volumes about his multicultural exposure.Embed from Getty Images
Fashion as Cultural Diplomacy: The “Treasures of Armenia”
Vahan Khachatryan’s 2015-2016 Fall/Winter collection, aptly named “The Treasures of Armenia,” is a celebration of his heritage. Unlike many designers who draw from a pool of generic inspiration, Vahan dives deep into the history and culture of his native Armenia. By intricately incorporating Armenian symbols, icons, and art forms into contemporary fashion pieces like crop tops and designer sneakers, he breathes new life into centuries-old traditions.
This collection also stands as a tribute to the Armenian Genocide, thus adding layers of depth and meaning to his work. Showcased in international fashion capitals like Paris, Milan, and Rome, it serves as a form of cultural diplomacy. Through his designs, Vahan aims to make the world more aware of Armenian history and traditions.
Balancing Act: Melding Opposites in Recent Collections
Vahan’s most recent work continues to showcase his talent for balancing the intense detailing characteristic of Western baroque and rococo with the simplicity and clarity of Eastern design. The amalgamation of ornate floral designs, intricate jewellery elements, and the conspicuous use of gold offers a rich, almost medieval European look. Yet, the designs are punctuated by the minimalistic aesthetics common to Eastern cultures—wide sleeves, kimonos, and wide trousers—creating a harmonious blend.
The Man Behind the Fabric
Understanding Vahan requires understanding his life experiences. His years spent travelling across the Middle East, and Europe exposed him to a diverse array of cultural aesthetics. These experiences, coupled with his solid grounding in the artistic traditions of his family and homeland, have been instrumental in shaping his unique fashion philosophy. As he puts it, he aims to create dresses that reflect not just his own but also his client’s personality.
Conclusion: More Than Just Fashion
Vahan Khachatryan’s work transcends the realm of fashion to become a narrative of an ancient culture and its symbiosis with the modern world. His design philosophy is deeply rooted in a multicultural upbringing and rich heritage, which he masterfully translates into wearable art. His creations don’t just exist in the present; they carry echoes from the past, making each piece a chapter in the long, fascinating story of the Armenian nation.
With a design sensibility that knows how to coalesce the richness of the West with the minimalism of the East, Vahan Khachatryan is more than just a fashion designer. He is a cultural ambassador, an artist, and a storyteller, bringing the essence of Armenia to the global stage through the language of fabric and form.