Arabian studied at Paris-based fashion schools, ESMOD and Studio Bercot. After the studying she started out designing jewelry and handbags for Swarovski and Chanel before deciding to create her own line. The Karine Arabian collection also includes her own jewelry, belts and handbags, along with footwear.
"I'm a woman, I love shoes and I've broken a lot of heels," says Arabian.
Her grandfather is a shoemaker. "It was very natural for me to do shoes. Shoes made by a woman for a woman," she admits.
In 2003 Arabian moved production from France to Italy's Veneto region. The change reflected a focus on improving the quality of her line as well as an evolution of her design philosophy. Her styles have segued from 1960s- and 1970s-influenced erraticism to more romantic sophistication, ranging from $450 for a pump to $1,000 for a knee-high boot.
But Arabian acknowledges she's going to be up against numerous other suitors.
"Fashion nowadays is very difficult," she said "Big companies are in China -- they have small prices. And for me, I am little and I have high prices. It's very challenging."
Arabian accept that although her passion originated in fall styles, she has grown to love designing and developing spring product. For instance three main themes provided inspiration for her spring '06 collection of sandals and pumps: romance, the desert and the Italian Riviera.
In addition to her own shoes, Arabian has already been approached by Swarovski to help design younger, trendier footwear under the Swarovski name.
Surrounded by inspiring male French shoemakers, from Louboutin to Frissoni to Clergerie, Arabian is in the minority as a Frenchwoman designing shoes -- a distinction she hopes will come across in the way she designs her collection.
"All the designers, they are all men, and they do things too masculine, over-sexy," she said. "I do shoes very feminine, but not tacky."
Four years after launching her eponymous shoe collection, Arabian was hoping to court a better department-store business, hoping that her 30-style, elegant yet eclectic footwear collection will catch the attention of larger U.S. retailers such as Bergdorf Goodman, Barneys New York and Saks Fifth Avenue.
Arabian's shoes are sold at upscale boutiques, including Pasadena, Calif.-based In Soho Curve in Los Angeles and Primadonna in Marlton, N.J. Arabian is also toying with the idea of unveiling a second store, in New York.
"It's a dream for me," said Arabian, "I love New York."
Her cousin, Dan Yeremian, who is also of Armenian descent, serves as her business partner.
In hopes of seriously growing her business, Arabian also planed to show at The Train in New York and Premiere Classe in Paris.
"I want to design, but I also want to be practical," she said. "A designer now has to be an artist and a businesswoman."
- ARABIAN SIGHTS WOMEN'S : WITH HER GROWING EAST-MEETS-WEST COLLECTION, KARINE ARABIAN HAS HER EYES ON ATTRACTING THE ATTENTION OF LARGER DEPARTMENT STORES., By Michelle Baran. Business and Industry , August 15, 2005