With his roots in Armenia, a small country with a long history on the border between the East and the West, Vahan Khachatryan has learned to combine the best of both worlds in his designs. The young Armenian designer’s work is on the delicate line between the simplicity of the East and richness and the intensity of the West.
Born and raised in Yerevan, Vahan was exposed to art and fashion at a very young age. His grandfather, a famous painter in his time, had a strong influence on young Vahan: growing up surrounded by his masterpieces, his appreciation of everything beautiful and his sense of aesthetics grew stronger with time. Soon, he moved to Italy to make his first major steps in the world of fashion. After graduating from the Accademia Italiana of Florence, he gained valuable experience while working at one of the most famous Italian fashion houses, Dolce & Gabbana. During these years, he fully developed his own style with elements of Italian baroque and French rococo, paired with the simple and clear geometric shapes typical to the Eastern cultures.
What makes the Vahan’s artwork more unique is the use of his nation’s history in the creation of his designs – or, simply put, a celebration of the ancient Armenian culture that is more than a thousand years old. His 2015-2016 Fall/Winter collection, named “The Treasures of Armenia,” revolves around Armenian national ornaments, elements, and miniature art. The designs give a new breath to Armenian art and use its intricate symbols and drawings as patterns in the designs of the collection. Created as a tribute in memory of the Armenian Genocide, the line has been shown in Paris, Milan, Rome and Kiev; the designer’s goal is to introduce the history and traditions of Armenia to the world with a modern touch, and to reveal the hidden treasures of his ancient nation.
The combination of modern shapes and cultural heritage intertwine the present and the past. “The Treasures of Armenia” includes pieces such as crop tops, bombers, and even designer sneakers with patterns of cultural significance that portray historical events, inscriptions in Armenian, icons, and symbols of the Armenian nation. Each piece has a story behind it, and each one of them is rooted deeply in the history of his country.
Vahan Khachatryan’s most recent collection takes his talent of balancing contrasting Western and Eastern stylistic elements to a new level. From the first sight, the collection seems to be strongly influenced by the intensity of color and detail of the baroque and rococo of the West; the beads, the floral ornaments, the intricate jewelry details, and the splashes of gold here and there are reminiscent of the opulence of the Medieval Ages in European culture. But after the eye adjusts to the plethora of color and detail, individual shapes start to take form, giving a breath of fresh air with the clarity and simplicity of Eastern minimalism. Wide sleeves, kimonos, and wide trousers add lightness to the saturated designs.
Vahan Khachatryan has the power to rejuvenate history and balance between two contradictory cultural directions. He knows the value of culture, heritage, and the past; he uses historical values to create a true piece of art. His works don’t simply have stories; they carry the history of an entire nation, revealing all its beauty and grandeur to the rest of the world.