12 August 2013, 12:24
2053 |

The Wild Colors of Success

Since the 1970's flamboyant designer Alek Adorian has been dressing stars in London and Hollywood. His unconventional style and unique approach have attracted big names like Elton John, Madonna, and Will Smith. He has added color and flare to the Hollywood fashion scene.

I did not know what to expect from my meeting with L.A. fashion designer Alek Adorian, but the minute I saw him I was sure that that this was not going to be a typical interview. Alek Adorian is a multi-dimensional character, who since his arrival in L.A. in 1985, has attracted many high profile celebrities to his Melrose Avenue studio. He does not exactly fit the stereotypical image of a well known designer. In fact, he embodies a unique combination of the eccentric and traditional, whose artistic inclinations have lead to extravagant experiments that, by various twists of fate, have brought success to his door. He has designed clothes for such high profile clients as Elton John, Michael Jackson, Will Smith, Madonna, Eva Longoria, Carmen Electra, Paulina Rubio, Jennifer Lopez, Prince and the list goes on and on. Yet his fashion sense does not really correspond with the trends of the moment, nor does it resemble anything from the runways of Paris, Milan or New York. Alek Adorian is in a class of his own. In fact, it is impossible to label either Alek or his particular style. To truly grasp the effect Alek can have, one has to have the opportunity to meet him and see his work. I had a chance to sit down with Alek and ask him a few question.

Your path to the world of design was very unconventional. What lead you to a career in fashion?
Fashion is my passion. I breathe, eat and sleep fashion. I was always surrounded by beautiful fabrics, and I grew up seeing my mother make beautiful things from these very colorful and exotic fabrics. In my 20’s I got into boxing and was very successful. I became a middle weight champion. Then I got into dancing and ended up moving to London, and there I earned many dance competition awards and became a disco champion. Because I had such a unique way of dancing, and because my body was different, none of the dance costumes fit me very well, so I started making my own costumes. People noticed my outfits and asked me where I bought them. So I started making costumes for others and then I opened Ace of Diamonds, my shop in London. My first big client was Elton John.

How did you end up in Los Angeles?
My mother lived in Connecticut, so I had been to America many times but I didn’t like it at all. One day this Hollywood producer came into my London studio and said, “Alek you belong in Hollywood.” I don’t even remember her name anymore, but the thought stayed in my mind. I had a cousin in the San Fernando Valley, so I came to California. I hated it. There was nothing that excited me, I thought this is not for me; there is no fashion in California. But then one day, my cousin took me to Melrose, and I knew I had found my place. Melrose had a very exciting fashion scene, and I knew that I could fit into this crazy world. I opened a studio on Melrose, and began designing and making clothes. Famous people started coming to my studio. One day this huge security guy came to my front door and from behind him out came this tiny man. It was Prince; he bought so many outfits from me that day. I started designing for some shows. I designed for movies like Men in Black and music videos, like the one for Madonna. I designed dresses for the 2007 Latin ALMA Awards show. I have dressed many celebrities since I first came to LA.

Do you find a big difference in working with celebrities and regular clients?
No. I treat all of my clients the same way. Celebrity or not, before I start making an outfit I ask them about the event they are going to attend, who is going to be there and other questions like that. I then treat the client like a canvas and begin the creative process. The only difference is that some people want to be involved in every step of the creative process. I cannot work like that. It is like questioning an artist between brush strokes. I need to be given my creative space, and then I will give them the most beautiful outfit, one that will not go out of fashion, one that will fit them perfectly.

What is next in your career? What are your plans for the coming year?
The past years have been so incredibly busy with the Latin Music Awards and other shows that I have worked on. I think I will take a few months off and then begin full force again. I am thinking about re-connecting with my Armenian roots and maybe opening up a studio in Glendale. I think it is really important to make every one of my clients feel like a celebrity for a day, so I would really like to work on something in this area: a studio, or something that would cater to Armenian and Iranian clients and their specific desires. I am thinking about adding this new aspect to my business. There is nothing like that in Glendale and I really think that people in Glendale and the surronding areas are in need of this kind of place. I think it is really important for people to feel that they too are important, and they too deserve to be treated like celebrities. I would like to brng this element of luxury to my new studio. I think people in this area would appreciate the kind of service and care that I bring to my designs. It is important that people feel they are special and the clothes they wear reflect who they are and what they want others to see in them.

How has your Armenian-Iranian heritage influenced your designs?
Colors! I love colors. Armenia has beautiful colors - deep, rich natural colors. Iran also has incredible colors. While I was growing up I was surrounded by naturally colored fabrics that were dyed using the flowers of the land, naturally pigmented. So I can say that the colors in my designs are influenced by the colors of my childhood.

Yerevan Magazine, Winter, N3, 2008

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