Tamara Sariachvili, the designer behind London-based brand Sarelle, and winner of the Haute Couture category at the International Design Awards talks to MOJEH.COM about her bespoke eveningwear, the importance of designer growth and her darkly captivating AW15 collection Where The Light falls.
By Dmitri Ruwan
How did crafting your skills with the renowned Maisons of Alexander McQueen and Christopher Kane help shape you as a designer?
Working with notable designers gave me a glimpse into the real fashion world, an opportunity to discover what goes on behind the scenes and the immense work that goes into creating every collection.
What’s the most vivid fashion memory from your childhood?
Going to Lascala in Milan, the beautiful opera. I first visited it as a little girl when my parents took my sister and I to Milan. I don’t remember which opera play was on at the time, but I do remember the impact that Lascala made on me. And all the women dressed so beautifully in eveningwear gowns exuded pure luxury.
How important are the right fashion institutions towards building an emerging designer’s career?
It is important as it provides a strong foundational base and opens doors, but I think that the most important thing is having great passion and a strong work ethic. More is learned in practice rather than in the classroom.
You received an accolade in the Haute Couture category at the IDA (International Design Awards) how relevant are couture techniques to your pieces?
I won the IDA awards for a collection I created right after leaving university. It involved a lot of hand work and one piece, in particular, took 3 months to complete. Similarly, when it came to Where The Light Falls collection, the lace we work with is Chantilly which is very fragile and so great care goes into each garment, before cutting and applique can begin. I’m passionate about making and reworking fabrics to create my own.
When did you realise that you wanted to create bespoke eveningwear?
I wanted to create something that resonated with women and made them feel special, ineffable, like capturing a perfect moment in time. I wanted to empower them and make them feel like their best self. I realised how transformative a luxury gown can be when I had a commission from a longstanding client for quite a technical garment and she was so overwhelmed with it that she burst into tears! It was as transformative for her as it was for me and made me realise that this is what I truly wanted to do. That this was my vocation.
What would you say are the three key details that make a Sarelle garment instantly recognisable?
Timeless glamour, simple shapes with intricate attention to detail, and a luxurious use of lace and silks.
How does Sarelle appeal to the Middle Eastern woman and how do they, in turn inspire you?
In my experience of working with my Middle Eastern clients they are strong women – they invest in their beauty and appearance. They know what suits them and they like elegance and glamour. This ties in with the dual nature of Sarelle of both strength and fragility, the nature of concealing and revealing. The dresses are simply the finishing touch to the lady herself. She wears them, not the other way around.
Your capsule collection Where The Light Falls is darkly romantic, starkly rebelling against the seasons light colour tones. Why is every piece in the collection black?
When I envisaged this collection I didn’t see colour in it – just the nude of the skin with ebony. I wanted the collection to be like a romantic armour that both envelops and protects you.
What is the future of Sarelle and what can we expect in the next collection?
We will continue to offer exceptionally made evening gowns both in Ready-to-wear and expand our offering for bespoke clients.