Ten questions with AMYKARINE

Published on Life in Luxury on 24th December 2014:

AMYKARINE is a new independent label, specializing in textile design and luxury silk scarves. Here, the designers of the brand, Amy and Karine Brutijan, answer Life in Luxury’s Ten questions.

Tell us about AMYKARINE, how did you begin?

AMYKARINE is influenced by our background. We were born into a very creative family and raised in a household full of works by distinguished Armenian painters, which were carefully curated by our father. It is no surprise that we have been drawn to the arts and design since early childhood. We also had an interest in fashion and all sort of things you could wear. Establishing AMYKARINE came as a natural development of our creative drive, our passion for design, fashion, visual arts, and our love for all things original and innovative.

Why scarves?

The scarf is the perfect item to showcase designs and patterns and to realise ideas related to textile design. A silk square is a statement accessory. Just like jewellery, it can boost confidence and change the overall style of an outfit. We personally love scarves, because they are great for accessorising and can be worn in so many different ways. We’re hardly ever seen out without a scarf, though styled differently each time depending on our mood or occasion.

If there’s one word that describes AMYKARINE as a brand, what would it be and why?

The best word to characterize AMYKARINE is “unique”. AMYKARINE is guided by the passion of creating beautiful pieces by blending art and fashion. We believe that accessories must be attractive to the eye and made with exceptional quality fabrics.

What should we know about wearing your scarves?

AMYKARINE scarves are the ideal choice for confident, hard-working, successful and elegant women with a subtle sense of beauty and style. They have a passion for all sorts of accessories – belts, shoes, jewellery. AMYKARINE woman is sophisticated, conscious of fashion but stays loyal to her own style. AMYKARINE scarves are rendered in vibrant colours, flattering both blondes, and brunettes. They fit perfectly well with mono-coloured shirts, jackets or dresses. They are also a great choice for those who like black, but avoid wearing it because it ages the face. AMYKARINE scarves can tweak and freshen any monochromatic look, so you can wear your favourite black, or charcoal ensemble and freshen it up with our amazing scarves.

What’s it like collaborating with your sister?

It’s absolutely amazing! One can hardly imagine what it is like, unless they have a twin sister or brother. We have always done everything together since childhood, and now working at AMYKARINE we spend more treasured time together. And we love it!

What’s your biggest source of inspiration?

We have travelled and lived in diverse metropolises, and taken inspiration from travelling and learning about the rich variety of cultures. We also take inspiration from music and literature. Our designs and prints are inspired by the fusion of cultures, and never by a particular land – they never feature a culture-specific pattern. We believe that the fusion of cultures creates a fabulous blend, especially when it comes to art and design. AMYKARINE is not an “ethnic” brand and its ethos is to transcend cultures and national boundaries with pieces inspired by world classics in music, literature and art.

How do you take an inspiration and turn it into a reality?

We have always liked painting, drawing, and making sculptures, before we started experimenting with textile design. We find inspiration in many ways, it depends on what’s in our world at the time when we are designing. We then discuss the overall style of the future collection and take the ideas into our sketchbooks. We may also play with colours just sitting next to each other and then, when we both like the outcome, we go on working at the particular pattern until it meets all our expectations. Then comes the sampling stage. Only the best pieces go into production.

What’s the inspiration behind your latest collection?

Our latest collection entitled Sonnet is inspired by English romantic poetry – the poems by Wordsworth, Shelley and Byron – the greatest classics of world literature, which, we are convinced, is easily understood anywhere in the world. Romanticism, a 19th century artistic and literary movement, which originated in Europe, was very strong in Britain, Germany and France, but also reached Spain, Latin America and North America. It produced great work and masterpieces in music, literature and fine art.

What’s on trend for 2015?

First of all, statement accessories – jewellery, bags, shoes and scarves, which add the final touch to the way a woman dresses; these are all about beauty and style. Also prints are everywhere, be it clothing or accessories. And they are varied, ranging from fruits to floral, paisley to pinstripes. Though digital photographic prints are interesting, the hand drawn images like the ones by AMYKARINE will outlive the digital trend.

What’s the next big step for AmyKarine?

It’s really exciting for a designer to know that your creations appeal to many different women from all over the world – from London and Paris to Delhi and Shanghai. And we are currently working at increasing brand awareness and sales, as well as working on our next collection. Still, our next big step is going to be a surprise to our fans.

Interview with Heinz Beck

Published on BespokeRSVP on 20th March 2012:

After a delightful meal at Apsleys, Heinz Beck kindly spent some time answering some questions about himself, his restaurant and his food

Why and how did you become a chef?

When I was younger I always dreamed of being an artist, my father however had other ideas and rather I studied Economics or something similar. I rebelled and decided to employ my artistic vein through cooking.

Where do you get the inspiration for your dishes?

I strongly believe and try to instil in all my students that you cannot draw inspiration from just one specific thing or product. It is important to open up your mind and draw inspiration from everything around you: people, architecture, seasons etc. This way you will not remain limited and it will allow you to change and progress. There is a large palette of ideas available and you can draw inspiration from everything at every moment. Returning to my love of art, I believe this philosophy draws parallels with the ‘Bottega Rennais Centos’ from the Renaissance period. I try to recreate this in my kitchens.

Was it unexpected that Apsleys received a Michelin star so soon after opening?

I was not expecting it so quickly but was of course very pleased and proud of the achievement. From the beginning I ensured I was constantly present to cultivate its growth and quick development. I still ensure to visit the restaurant regularly as it was a big commitment for me to open a second restaurant and important for me to do it well.

What are your views or feelings towards the young generation of chefs these days? Are they motivated by success or more by money and fame?

If you want to become a chef from a young age, you have to be motivated by passion and possess a natural talent because this is the only way you can achieve success at the highest level. It is a very demanding and tough job and only if you dedicate your life to it will you reach the top. If you are only motivated by fame and money I would advise you against becoming a chef and to find another profession as only a very small handful become famous out of thousands of chefs and it is important to understand this.

What qualities do you look for in young chefs?

Passion, talent, humility, cleanliness and tidiness in every aspect, precision, persistence, energy,enthusiasm and resilience.

Who would be your perfect dinner guests and what would you cook for them?

I consider every guest to be the perfect guest and am therefore always looking forward to the next guest.

If you could choose any chef to cook for you – who would it be and why?

Massimiliano Blasone, my Executive Chef at Apsleys, and that is why I trust him to oversee my London restaurant when I am not there.

What is your favourite comfort food?

Arancini Siciliani, traditional Sicilian street food that consists of a ball of saffron rice filled with Bolognese sauce and fried in crispy breadcrumbs.

What does 2012 hold for you and your restaurants? Can we expect more openings?

In times of economic difficulties I believe it is important to invest and concentrate on developing and renewing your existing restaurants. It is important to never make the mistake of making cuts during these times as your regular clientèle will not accept it. Instead, use all your resources to improve your product, the customers will appreciate it, be loyal, and respect that you are truthful to your standards.