Julie Burgardt: How do you put your color stories together? How does the process begin?
Araks Yeramyan: The selection of color is where I spend the most time in my design process. I start with a color that I have not seen in a long, long time and the rest follows. After selecting the main seasonal colors, I fill the palette with a selection of neutrals. Then, at the end I work in one strange color to bring it all together.
Our color library is stored in one gallon glass jars. I begin by going into my jars and pulling out twenty to thirty shades of the colors that I want to work with. Then, I spread all of the swatches onto a large board to start looking at their relationships to one another. From there, I start to edit down. I will work on the board and then step away, work and step away, a little bit each day. I never know how long its going to take to get down to the final selection. I’m only clear when it’s done. Sometimes it takes a week, occasionally it takes as long as a month.
The beginnings of a color story
A palette in progress
A completed lingerie palette with fabric indications
JB: Do you have any rules when it comes to certain colors for certain seasons. Or, do you think about colors in a seasonal way at all?
AY: I start there. If I'm in spring I might start with a few lighter brighter colors or at least make sure that they are represented in the scheme; it can go anywhere from there. Lately, I love the contrast between light and bright colors and moody dark ones in the same palette.
JB: How do swim palettes and lingerie palettes differ?
AY: I start working with the lingerie palette first, and once it is completed I use it as a starting point for the swim colors. I have an intention for them to look similar and related. Lingerie is softer with more neutrals. Swim is usually bright bold colors, and I use red and blues as our neutrals.
Color allocation for swim and lingerie ~ High Summer 2016
JB: What’s your earliest memory of color?
AY: My room as a baby was not typical. Hanging from my ceiling was a reproduction of a calder mobile, and on the walls we had a Van Gough yellow daisy and a Picasso from the Blue Period. My Dad was really into art and having us understand color. From my earliest memories he gave us three colored pencils - red, yellow, and blue along with a color wheel. He insisted that all colors could be created from these three. We were limited to this assortment of colors until we were old enough to go out and buy our own.
JB: How old were you when you could buy your own and what did you buy?
AY: At about thirteen or fourteen I went to the art supply store and I bought an assortment of oil pastels. I was obsessed with the intense saturated color. I also bought a box set of seventy two Derwent watercolor pencils. I still have them.
JB: You mentioned being around art since you were a baby. What artist has impacted your use of color the most?
AY: When we were young we made regular visits to the Philadelphia Art Museum. At the entrance of the Modern Art section (my favorite part) there was this big pale pink painting. Every time I came upon it, my whole mood changed, and I was filled with excitement. I could never get enough. I would love to go back and see if the painting is still there, and I would really love to know who painted it.
My first favorite period of art was definitely Pop. At an early age I grew obsessed with Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol. I devoured everything I could about them and their work. I remember the paintings I worked on at this age. I would mix their two styles together to make my own. That obsession lasted through my early twenties, and I still get excited when I see works from these two artists that I have never seen before.
Entrance of Araks' apartment - this is where threads are stored and it also serves as color therapy. Photographed by Maria Del Rio for Mother Magazine
JB: How do you like to wear color?
AY: All of the color in my outfits show up in my lingerie and shoes. Occasionally I wear a pop of bright color in my clothes, (usually trousers) but if you open my closet doors you will mostly see navy, black, white, and many shades of grey. Whenever I see the color green, I feel the need to buy it ~ from shoes to bags to trousers. Recently I saw the most beautiful dark green yarn. I instantly purchased it and knit myself a hat.
Photographed by Maria Del Rio for Mother Magazine