July 16, 2024

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Fashion Design Meets Shopping at The Beekman Atelier

4 min read

Saratoga has its share of fabulous boutiques, packed full of colorful ready-to-wear separates, dresses, shoes and accessories. And yet, so many women end up ordering clothes online, to ensure they don’t show up at a fancy event wearing the same frock as another guest. That’s why the new concept that fashion designer Caroline Haladjian is bringing to town is an especially welcome one: The Beekman Atelier is part high-end boutique, part designer’s studio—where dreaming up a unique fashion look can become a reality. 

The atelier—located, yes, on Beekman Street, near Washington Street—is an exciting European concept combining a shop full of unique finds with the energy of a design studio. “I still remember an experience from nearly 20 years ago of walking into a little clothing store in Copenhagen and seeing not just beautiful garments but also a team of designers actively engaged in making more items,” Haladjian says. “The atmosphere of focus, beauty and harmony in that design shop struck me and has stayed with me. The feeling it gave me is what I strive to recreate in my atelier.”

In this spirit, Beekman Atelier—at press time scheduled to open March 23—will offer a curated collection of goods for sale, including vintage items, local ceramics, jewelry, accessories, stationery, artwork and provisions, plus one-of-a-kind items that Haladjian designs and makes at the atelier with her associate, Sandra Catricala, who’s known for her meticulous technical sewing. “There will also be sewing lessons, and we will have guest instructors to offer small classes for other skills like knitting, embroidery and crochet,” Haladjian says. “Down the road, we would love to offer student portfolio prep for fashion school candidates. We want to bring services to the community that are not currently offered.” The shop will have normal business hours, with sewing lessons and personal shopping arranged by appointment.

(Photography by Konrad Odhiambo)

On the design side of the coin, Haladjian has been using her studio prior to opening to the public to create a full collection of her own designs that will be sold in her store. “We make clothing with classic silhouettes but from unique materials,” she says. “I cater to women who want to wear one-of-a-kind items tailored to their style. We will also do custom orders but in a different way—for example, clients can bring in a special garment that they would like to have custom fit for them to wear. I love the idea of sustainable fashion, and wearing pieces that are sentimental to the client is a bonus. We also have vintage items to shop in the store that can then be tailored.”

Haladjian has had a long career in fashion to prepare her for this high-concept design studio. She graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Fashion Design, and was a designer for major retail brands for more than 15 years in Los Angeles, Philadelphia and New York City. “I left the corporate world to focus on my health and raising my children,” she says. “Part of my journey to Saratoga Springs included a stressful, unsatisfying career in the world of corporate fashion. The empty-yet-exhausting years of working for major fashion labels made me yearn for the simpler and deeper things that drew me to fashion and clothing design to begin with—the craftsmanship, the artistry, working with one’s hands, sketching, and using fabrics to create one’s vision.”

She credits her mom, Georgette, for sparking her interest in the art of fashion. “I inherited this passion from my mom, who grew up in Syria sewing all of her own clothing along with her sisters,” Haladjian says. “Their clothing was made from Syrian fabrics and were high-quality, wearable pieces of art. This is why my label is called ‘Medyati,’ which is my mom and her sisters’ family name.”

(Photography by Konrad Odhiambo)

The way Haladjian shops for the items she’ll sell in her store and the fabrics she’ll design from more than reveals the artsy ethos she inherited from her mother and aunts. “I look for items that are unique and have an artisanal craftsmanship to them,” she says. “I like to build a story, so all the items complement each other although they are created by a variety of artists from all over the region. Fashion is an amazing type of art to me, as one can wear it, feel a certain way wearing an item, and express themselves to others. Finding a special fabric to me is inspiring and essential for coming up with my next design. I recently found a Turkish fabric on an ottoman in Manchester that inspired me to make a jacket out of the same fabric. Sandra, my design associate, is almost done sewing it as we speak!” 

Becoming a mother herself helped push Haladjian to want to pass along these passions to others in the form of Beekman Atelier’s classes and potential future mentorship. “The freedom to be empowered by learning to make something with your own hands is priceless,” she says. “Once you become comfortable with sewing, the possibilities are endless on what you can create. We have a returning student who’s working on a special blanket for her upcoming baby’s arrival. And my two young daughters just took a class and each made a pillow! It is important to me as a woman and a mother to show them how capable they are to achieve great things.”


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