Dress: Rose of Eden, Collection: Garden of Eden.
Fabric: chiffon by Malfroy, Lyon; satin Baumann, France. Necklace and earrings by Daniel Swarovski, Paris.
We were having dinner in the bright dining room of an ancient house in Lyon, France. In front of us, on a perfectly starched linen tablecloth was a large bowl of Dolmas and other Armenian delicacies. Leonard's uncle and Philippe’s father, a 90-year-old handsome Armenian, sat at the head of the table, and next to him, like a sunbeam, shone his beautiful wife, a graceful gray-haired Frenchwoman, slender and elegant, like a picture from a 60s fashion magazine. I thought back then: perhaps it was for such women that Christian Dior created.
This man, Philippe’s father, had fled to France during the Armenian Genocide in Turkey. From 1914 to 1923 more than one and a half million ethnic Armenians were killed there. He told us the story of their family, about how he and his brother walked through the mountains; they ran out of food and strength, and when they were already close to death, suddenly a man appeared in front of them and gave them food and water. Later they realized that it had been an angel sent by God to help them. Uncle showed us this area on the map: it is still deserted and the probability of meeting a passer-by is close to zero.
Later he came to Lyon, and, of course, with the entrepreneurial spirit characteristic of Armenians, he started a business related to fabrics. He first traded them, and then founded a synthetic lace factory, which became the largest manufacturer of non-wovens for weddings and celebrations in France. When, during the Second World War, northern France was occupied by the Nazis, many Jews fled to the South, and Philippe's family, remembering the Armenian genocide in Turkey, fed thousands of refugees and tried to help them move to safer countries.
I remember that later that evening we prayed with Philippe, right in his luxurious dark blue BMW, parked in a narrow street of Lyon. The presence of God was so real that it seemed that even the air in the car has changed, became somehow clear, more transparent yet thick. I don't even know how to describe it; this is probably a manifestation of another dimension in our reality ... Tears sparkled in the eyes of the young Frenchman - then Philippe opened his heart to Christ.
It seems to me that people come to God not because someone has proved to them that God exists, it is impossible to prove it, you can only experience it yourself. You meet the invisible God face to face, your soul immediately recognizes Him as a good Friend, as a Father, as a Beloved, whom it has been waiting for all its life. Yes ... "It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye" Antoine de Saint-Exupery.
The next day Philippe brought us to their factory: “I know our fabrics are not used for Haute Couture dresses, but maybe you can use them to decorate your shows. Please take whatever you like! ”
Yes, these fabrics are not used for dresses, but why not try using them to create hats. This is how the hats for the Garden of Eden collection were born, and the hats from these fabrics turned out to be simply extraordinary!
When people admire my talent as a designer, I feel uneasy; I am very clearly aware of the limitations of my abilities, but when the Presence of God comes while working on a dress or painting, a miracle happens! The miracle of the multiplication of my small talent, the miracle of the multiplication of beauty. And Haute Couture is always the work of a whole team, a combination of talents of many professionals. Philippe's hearts desire was that his work would glorify God, and that is why the Lord inspired us to create these beautiful hats!
Dress Rose of Eden by Aleona Isakova, photo by Yvonne Taylor