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Gothic meets couture in Garen Demirdjian's new collection.

Summary: Soft lines met rough edges at the launch of Lebanese fashion designer Garen Demirdjian's 2017 spring/summer couture collection and new eponymous brand at his fashion house in D Beirut, a local creative space.

BEIRUT: Soft lines met rough edges at the launch of Lebanese fashion designer Garen Demirdjian's 2017 spring/summer couture collection and new eponymous brand at his fashion house in D Beirut, a local creative space.

Long, flowing evening gowns were at the center of the collection, decorated with feathers, delicate beading and bold cuts in black, white and pastel shades. Each dress highlighted the Lebanese Armenian designer's unique ability to combine soft, flowing fabrics with gothic, harsh undertones.

"I'm very inspired by the 18th-century, by cathedrals, by the things that are hidden and dark. I always imagine that I can bring something beautiful into it. It's actually very selfish," Demirdjian told The Daily Star during the event. "I love [industrial space] because it's big, with clean lines. Steel industrial areas are very scary and dark. But all this inspires me." Throughout the three-hour event last week, guests were offered trays of macarons, champagne and the chance to see each design up close. The night included a DJ, light effects and a musical performance in addition to the main event.

Envisioned to be as distinctive as the designer himself, the show was not held on your typical catwalk. Instead, models moved among the attendees, giving them the opportunity to view each design in detail.

The dresses themselves combined soft feathers, yards of loose floaty fabrics and detailed beading with deep cuts and modern, gothic elements. Even the blue and pink pastel gowns were encircled by thin black belts, true to the designer's theme of combining soft and rough elements in his work. Romantic but edgy, each dress represented Demirdjian's imagination of beauty in dark spaces.

"I usually work with layers," he said. "But here I tried to introduce the couture, working the layers but with small beading and flowers. It's still very dark and gothic." He added that one single piece in this collection didn't stick out as a favorite for him.

"The way a woman wears the dress is key, and has the power to transform the impression it makes," the designer said in a press release.

Born in Beirut and raised in Athens, Demirdjian studied Fine Arts in Lebanon before making his way to Paris to study fashion design at ESMOD, the Ecole Superieure des Arts et Techniques de la Mode. His first two collections were designed in his home studio in Paris and were immediately purchased exclusively by L'Eclaireur in Paris. Following his initial success, Demirdjian launched two independent lines -- under the names GARDEM and Paramnesia -- before re-establishing his house of Garen Demirdjian in Lebanon.

Demirdjian decided years ago to return to Beirut and launch his new brand in his native country. "I wanted to be more down-to-earth, and Beirut was the best place for me because I grew up here, I'm Lebanese and I'm proud of it," he said.

His new base in D Beirut is located in an industrial area in the Burj Hammoud neighborhood, on the eastern border of Beirut. Demirdjian said he loves the building and the area. "It took seven years to find this space that I'm in now. I wanted to find an industrial place, somewhere that I could bring this beauty into," he said.

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Publication:The Daily Star (Beirut, Lebanon)
Geographic Code:7LEBA
Date:May 6, 2017
Words:584
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