Araks Yeramyan is a master of understated luxury underwear. Since 2000, Araks has been weaving collections for her lingerie and swim line in jewel coloured lustrous silks and soft buttery cottons, all with a decisively feminine approach to silhouette and shape. She has a loyal following of some of Hollywood’s most particular women (Michelle Williams and Kirsten Dunst to name a few), and her blush pink drawers star in one of Sofia Coppola’s most memorable film scenes - that opening scene with Scarlett Johansson in Lost in Translation. To celebrate our new season delivery of Araks lingerie and swim in LM stores, we met with Araks in her New York loft to talk about sexiness, life and her latest podcast obsession. Portraits by Jen Steele.
You are undeniably one of the first lingerie brands to really reinterpret the norm for lingerie and what is conventionally sexy in the fashion lingerie space. What drove you to launch Araks?
I set out to create lingerie for women. Pieces they will love wearing that keeps them feeling beautiful. I always loved wearing cotton underwear, but often felt frumpy. I created what I wanted to wear, cotton underwear in unexpected colors that made me feel beautiful. I wanted to create a collection that builds, so that over time one could collect and wear any combination. I wanted to make dressing more effortless.
Who is the 'Araks' woman?
The Araks woman embraces understated aesthetics and follows her own instincts. She’s confident and carries herself with ease.
Each collection always has an element of surprise - whether it's unexpected colour combination or unusual prints - where do you find inspiration and newness for each collection after so many years in the business?
It could be anywhere. My mind is always open, and I am looking for unexpected beautiful things in my every day life. It can be something as simple as the color palette of a flower arrangement or the juxtaposition of the Potash salt mines against the landscape in Utah. I open myself up to new experience, such as going to new places, galleries and seeking out artists I’ve never seen before. It gives me life!
What is sexiness to you?
Confidence and grace.
I know you love NYC, and you wouldn't live anywhere else in the world. What do you most love about living in NYC?
All the different people and cultures. There are so many ideas and different ways of thinking here, and you can always learn something from someone. It’s vibrant, it has energy, and it is always evolving.
You're a mother and highly hands-on business owner - how do you keep from burning out?
I don’t think about burning out. I am passionate about both my work and kids, and I don’t associate passion with burn out. I am able to handle it because I put so much importance into my own self-care. This is something I have been doing since I was a kid. I remember going to holistic nutritionist at age 9 and really embracing healthy eating as a lifestyle. I have had a strict routine every day for the last 15 years that incorporates green smoothies, a vitamin regimen, gyro-tonics and at least 8 hours of sleep every night.
Tell me about a woman in your life that inspires you
My mother. She is dedicated and to her purpose in life of helping others operate as their most amazing selves everyday. She believes in people and tirelessly stands for them and their greatness.
What are you most passionate about lately?
Sustainability. I’m always looking to learn better ways to take care of myself, my kids, my business and the environment, with minimal impact.
What does happiness embodied in one day look like for you?
For me, it is when I see my boys light up about something they are discovering in the moment and growing from it. Recently I took them to see David Hockney at the MET, and they were completely energized by it. Even though I had seen the same exhibit a few months prior, seeing it again through their eyes brought a whole new perspective to me.
Can you share something really great you've recently read or listened to - can be an article, podcast or book.
I listen to Fresh Air with Terry Gross. She is able to draw out impactful stories in an intelligent and sensitive way. I also love the Invisibilia Podcast – it shows a different perspective on life in a way that you might have not seen before. It makes you see your own life differently.
What can we expect next from Araks?
A broader range of sizing including D-cups. We’ve recently expanded our D-Cup sizing for swimwear, and now we are developing D-cup sizes for lingerie.
What are your favourite styles from the new collection?
I love the silk organza ruffle dress in black. I love anything that is sheer and modest and feminine at the same time. Perfect combination. I also love the long sleeve navy linen jersey top. That is an essential basic that I could not live without.