TAMAR KIOUMEDJIAN | The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Written and photographed by Adrenus Craton

Tamar Kioumedjian

is Armenian. She was born in Lebanon, amidst a conflicted region. So, at a young age she and her family moved to France. This is where she grew up, went to school and learned more about life outside of a war-torn Lebanon. 

Tamar spoke about her feelings towards many of her relatives, most who had become orphaned after the, controversially labeled, Armenian Genocide.

Even as I read deeper and deeper into the histories of Armenia, Lebanon and Turkey, there was a sense of clarity to Tamar's passion towards creating beauty. Listening to her speak about her close family members who survived their fates and rose above to reach their destinies... it was inspirational. Tamar now lives and works as Creative Director of her own designer label, Isis de l'Or (Throne of Gold).


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Moments before the photo shoot we sat in front of the fountains at Regent's Canal. Unusually sunny for London, there were kids splashing in water jet streams that bounced spout to spout from the ground. There was laughing… and more splashing - it was nostalgic of summer beach holidays (anywhere besides UK). As we watched these children, we talked about our own childhoods and our own families: strict upbringing, strong father figures, even stronger mothers who would give up the world just for us. Where did all of this creative energy and deep feelings come from? How did we come to develop this "beautiful bubble" - a world outside the one that sat in front of us?

Eventually, we came to a conclusion. Instinct. It was an instinct, given through the Universe, through God, through whatever force that drives us to become.

"Usually, people will reverse, get angry, bitter, and drink alcohol when they go through hard times," says Tamar. "I feel most Armenians had to wear invisible bandanas. It was nice to see what a Western movie, The Good The Bad and The Ugly, could do in terms of providing inspiration. At the end of the film, Clint Eastwood says, 'In this world there are two types of people, those with a loaded gun and those who dig, you dig!!' " 

"I suppose the whole world is like that," she concludes. "Some have the guns and the others dig, right? I don't feel bitter about it, it's life. It's painful, even as the regional conflicts are still happening. I would like so much more, but coming out of it with some sort of art… is magic." 

Indeed. It is magic.



Rena Edwards - Novelmodels Elite

Ayesha Tan-Jones - The Anti-Agency London


When and why did you decide to move to the UK?


Tamar: I was studying tailoring in France in 1994. I always used to say to my mother I want to go to England. I would watch MTV just so I could learn English.  To learn English at school wasn't enough for me. I wanted to be fluent, I love it.  

How has living in London influenced your work? Or has it?

Tamar: London can influence you in many ways as can any industry, that is, if you can handle this city (and so many other cities around the world). So, yes it does influence. London gives you a pre-taste of other cultures and the drive to go ahead and find out more.

What was your first piece of work as a designer?

Tamar: A leather handbag

Is there someone you have always dreamed of designing for?

Tamar: So many, such a variety of different people that I admire and would design for: Gabrielle (Coco) Chanel, Rei Kawakubo, Gwen Stephanie, MIA, Madonna, Kim Kardashian (all strong females)

Who or what has been your greatest inspiration?

Tamar: Ironically, masculinity inspires me. Close designer friends, hard working people, music like Rap (old-school mainly), Funk... love it. Also, gangster and Western movies.

If you could be or do anything else, what would you choose?

Tamar: Haha, I was talking about this few days ago and its hard because I put all my heart into what I do, and I am so passionate. I would do anything to survive if I had to, but inside I will be so miserable. (If I had to choose, I would be fulfilled to working with and helping those unfortunate. Especially those that are orphans).

Are there any causes / foundations you are passionate about?

Tamar: Violence and war are terrible. No limits! I believe in making better and always improving... 

Do you have any favourite fashion designers? 

Tamar: Rei Kawakubo

How do you feel success is defined in your home country, in comparison to how it is defined in London?

Tamar: I left Lebanon a long time ago. I believe that anyone who can survive what happens there is a successful being, and the same for London… Success isn't about what you own but more about what you "become" through experiences.

What are your plans for the year to come?

Tamar: To carry on loving, and to stay passionate with my desires for design and development. ~

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