Veronica Guzalian

Veronika Guzalian: Designing Nairi Bikini on Bali

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YEREVAN / PORTO CERVO, Italy — Veronika Guzalian is an Italian-Armenian fashion designer and dancer, living between Italy and Indonesia. Born in Bergamo, Italy, to Armenian father and Italian mother, Veronica graduated from Enrico Fermi scientific lycée and studied set and costume design for the performing arts at the Brera Academy of Fine Arts in Milan. She has worked with leading Italian fashion designers and for some time performed in a gesture theater group in Italy as a dancer and actress. Veronica lived for a while in India, studying Indian dances. Since spending more time in Bali, she has started studying Indonesian costumes.

Dear Veronika, you live between Italy and Indonesia. What took you to that exotic corner of our planet?

I went to Bali because I like the sensibility of the people and the art that they have in their single movement; they are very talented in manual work. I design bikinis, clothes and accessories and live between two wonderful islands: Sardinia and Indonesia. In Bali, a small world of good, simple, happy and serene people, I create my fashion, while on the beaches of the Costa Smeralda, a window on the world, with an open-air shop I sell. I personally take care of every aspect of my works: stylistic design, research, production, sales and marketing. 

They say the Indonesian language is easy to learn – is this true?

Yes, it is very easy for Italians; the pronunciation in reading is exactly the same!

One-time Indonesia had Armenian community. Have you ever met any Armenians there?

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I have met Rafi Papazian, an Armenian from France, who opened several shops of bread and croissant. With his cousin Gregory Guerguerian he founded Bali’s favorite bakery Monsieur Spoon. Also, my Armenian friend Lusine Sarkisyan, who is coming on holidays with her family to Bali. We love going to dance salsa together!

Please tell us about your activities as a dancer and actress.

I practice Latino and Indian dances and I am always eager to learn new dances. Acting in theater was a great experience that create strong connections between actors and stage.

One of your designed bikinis’ name is Nairi. Does it have something special Armenian?

It is the name of my lovely niece, Nairi Sahakian! I gave her name to a bikini that exactly fits her!

You said your father is from Musa Dagh. Are your ancestors among the survivors of the forty days of Musa Dagh?

Topics: Bikinis

Yes, my family had been deported; they were left without food and water. My father, Artin Guzalian, was a child at that time, but he also had to fight to survive as an adult. Being very talented, after growing up, he started to help the family. He became an engineer and later a doctor, a cardiologist. My father tried to teach me Armenian, but in the family, he was the only one speaking Armenian, so we all were speaking Italian. He was telling me a lot of stories how he used to make sujukh, lavash and yogurt with my grandmother. He was fond of poetry and music, so he presented me many times Armenian musicians and poets.

In the fall of 2009, I met you and your sister Anouch in Yerevan at Armenian traditional round dance evening. What memories you cherish from that trip? Do you still remember how to dance Armenian dances?

My sister Anouch loves to dance and we still have strong memories of that night in Yerevan! I love Armenian circle dances very, very much: I wish I could dance more. I remember that event as one of the best nights of my life – I am telling the truth; it was something unique!

Do you have any projects regarding Armenians?

I wish I could learn Armenian and travel to Armenia again, to experience our roots, breathe the scents, feel the sounds and the flavors of the sweet beloved Armenia and its people. I am very proud to be part of it and that’s why my brand takes an Armenian name, to make us know more and more and talk about our cause.

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