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Saturday, April 02, 2005

A pic from the "Russian Supermodels" feature of Vanity Fair, feat Valya Zelyaeva (left) and E Volodina.
Valya first appeared in the Russian leg of the 2000 Elite Model Look contest - I know, coz I was present at that contest. I admit that I paid more attention to other contestants, and I have to look really hard to find out if I have any pics featuring her from that event, although I certainly have her on video. Unfortunately, the Russian model contest system collapsed soon after, along with the big Moscow agencies - coz it was cheaper for the NYC model agencies, which by then had taken control of the market, to get mediocre models from obscure agents rather than pay more for the high quality mods who rose through the very competitive ex-USSR contest system, the same system that produced Natalia Semanova, Irina Bondarenko (Gerald Marie's wife) Diana Kovalchuk, Maria Nevskaya, Tatiana Zavialova, Olga Otrokhova (the dude who represents Volodina, Vodianova and over 100 other ex-USSR mods, knows her very well) and all the rest.
After all, very few in NYC could tell the difference between good and mediocre models - and it didn't really matter in any case, since high fashion was quite happy with "Belgians", "bugs" and other creatures...

Valya wasted the years after her modeling debut in Japan and other peripheral markets, married a Brazilian with connections to Mega agency, was "discovered" one day by Ralph Lauren, and the rest is history...
Volodina's fiancee/husband(?) and his one-man show is still the most powerful force in ex-USSR model representation...

Check out GODELS by Giulio Fabris - inc the VF pics and some recent Ana Bia stuff from Italian GQ...




24 Comments:

At 4/02/2005 1:55 PM, Anonymous Nine said...

Is Valya Zelyaeva her actual name?
I've always seen her called Valentina Zaliaeva. Just curious.

 
At 4/02/2005 3:48 PM, Blogger FV said...

Valentina = Valya
Maria = Masha
Ekaterina = Katya
Eugenia = Genia
Oksana = Ksenia
Viktoria = Vika
...

 
At 4/04/2005 5:13 AM, Anonymous stacey said...

What did you think about Natalia's comment about the Brazilians?

 
At 4/04/2005 6:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Polina is much more exquisite than Volodina or Zalieva or any other Rossija-devotchka.

 
At 4/04/2005 9:19 AM, Blogger FV said...

Blah...

 
At 4/04/2005 2:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Among the girls you cite, FV, I prefer Diana Kovalchuk and Tatiana Zavialova. Is it just a matter of taste or do you agree with me FV (or others) ?

Rodolphe

 
At 4/06/2005 7:53 AM, Blogger FV said...

Among brownhaired browneyed mods, Diana K is still tops

I was lucky enough to meet both Diana and Tatiana, and they look even better than in photos

 
At 4/06/2005 11:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah Lucky Man !!!!!

Hey, is it hard to work in a model agency ? I mean, what kind of people work there ?

Rodolphe

 
At 4/07/2005 5:16 AM, Blogger FV said...

I'd rather not comment...

better to be a "model scout" - and travel to weird places, in the ex-USSR, Brazil, Slovakia, etc to find "new faces"...

 
At 4/07/2005 8:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That must be a really cool job ;]

Wasn't it Volodina who commented about the brazilians?

;*
Ana

 
At 4/08/2005 9:40 AM, Blogger FV said...

Hey Ana - check out the picture, it says Volodina made the comment

 
At 4/08/2005 3:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Volodina's right about the beautiful skin, but their 'faces' are no where near the faces of the Brazilians. They are NOT finished.

-AbbeyRoad

 
At 4/09/2005 2:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey you forgot Olga = Olya ..my favourite.. ;)

 
At 4/09/2005 5:54 PM, Blogger FV said...

The Russians, Czech/Slovaks and other Easterners continue to dominate the beauty/cosmetics market in Europe

Raquel Z is doing well as the Dior cosmetics face...Michele Alves, Fernanda Tavares and Leticia Birkheuer are popular also,
Fabiana Tambosi has done lots of beauty stuff...


Olga = Olya, of course...
Natalia = Natasha
Anastasia - Nastya
Svetlana = Lana, Sveta, etc
Tatiana = Tanya
Aleksandra = Sasha
Daria = Dasha
...

 
At 4/10/2005 5:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ksenia = Ksusha (my good friend)
Irina = Ira (my other best friend)
Victoria = Vita (my best friend)
Julia = Ulya

and myself, Olya..But i hate that people cannot say Olya, so most of the time I say Olga (which was pretty formal back home)

 
At 4/10/2005 7:14 PM, Blogger FV said...

So, Olya - are you a model?

 
At 4/12/2005 2:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

fv, have you seen pics from Russian Fashion Week? aside from shitty clothes it was also a parade of crocodiles. really, compared to that horror show NYC "bugs" are beauty queens. and it doesn't make any sense, because one would expect to see a lot of pretty Russian girls on Moscow runway. apparently, all the pretty russian girls work everywhere BUT the fashion industry.

 
At 4/12/2005 9:03 AM, Blogger FV said...

correct, MFW is hardly the place to look for impressive mods...

There are lots or good "retired" mods in Moscow - the ones who work are out of the country - but even the retirees are busy doing more usuful things...

MFW is organised by some NYC PR types, so I wouldn't expect anything better in any case...

 
At 4/13/2005 2:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

fv, are you from Russia?

 
At 4/13/2005 3:05 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"MFW is organised by some NYC PR types, so I wouldn't expect anything better in any case..."
---Well, then, NYC show should've been much more horrifying than the Russian one. And we have quite the opposite situation. Besides, why would "NYC PR types" organize the event? Everyone knows that it doesn't pay to do fashion and modelling in Russia.

 
At 4/13/2005 4:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tell, me, fv, who's to blame for the "bugs" on Parisian runway?
As you probably know Stam opened for Kenzo and your "beloved" Gemma Ward opened for almost all major designers: Chloe, Dior, Lacroix, Hermes, Lagerfeld, Gaultier, and Chanel. Not bad for a "bug", huh?:-) She, Boscono, Elson, Poly, Dondoe, Crombez, Noorda and the like were seen almost in every show.

Despite the popularity of Russian-themes clothes, there weren't that many Slavic models in Paris either, mostly just the oh-so-popular-these-days Rubik and Poly, with less often appearances of Roslyakova, Kouklina, Soukupova and even Kaas. Among the less known models were Marta Berkzkalna, Natasa Vojnovic (both appeared relatively often), Katja Schekina, and someone named Ekaterina, from Idole agency; all 4 looked rather ugly.
Suprisingly, Irina Bondarenko appeared in Galliano's show.

Hard to believe that the French, too, invited "some NYC PR types"...

 
At 4/13/2005 5:12 AM, Blogger FV said...

Maybe we are talking about different events - there are several "Fashion Weeks" taking place in Moscow, the important one is where the big names like Slava Zaitsev take part

Last year, the main week was sponsored by Mercedes, it was produced by NYC types


The show where the really famous model names - inc some celeb and/or glamour mods - appear is Dikaya Orkhideya (Wild Orchid) sort of like a VS show, with the mods parading in lingerie

I don't know if the show will happen this year

- the really big event in past years was "High Fashion Week" which included many international guests and all the veteran models, again, I don't know if they'll have one in 2005

 
At 4/13/2005 5:19 AM, Blogger FV said...

Most "major" Paris shows are produced by NYC PR firms (Betak, etc)

Very few good mods remain in Paris - even London seems to be a more popular place for Russian mods these days

The designers are ignorant, as always - they just want "the model of the season"
It just happened that in the 90s, the agencies were promoting high quality models - if Elite or IMG wanted to sell Gemma back in 1995, she would headline all the big shows

If tomorrow the biz decided that Verakova and Nemcova should replace Daria and Gemma, that's who the designers will use in their shows...

 
At 4/13/2005 5:37 AM, Blogger FV said...

btw there are quite a few Slavic mods in the Couture Week shows

I think Armani used lots of Metropolitan mods

there are plenty of Eastern European mods in the "not advertised in Vogue" shows

the bottom line is that Paris is no longer the model capital - in fact fewer "top" mods are based there than even Milan or London

 

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