It’s an open secret around here that, besides watercolors, we’re more than obsessed with… can you guess it…? Fashion! Truth be told this company was started (and let’s face it, runs) in-between Masha (a closeted stylist of some acclaim) changing into ever-more outrageous outfits. So we’re dying to introduce you to a new series in which we get to uncloak this passion – Fashion Crush! First up, an interview with our friend from Masha’s homeland, the lovely Valery Kaufman. You might know her as the current face of Saint Laurent. Read on to discover how this hard-working, rapidly rising star got there, what she reads and her obsessions. Hint: there are leg-warmers involved.
photographer: Hedi Slimane
Tell us a bit about your upbringing and early life – did you always want to work in fashion?
I was born and raised in Moscow. My sister and I used to participate in beauty and dancing contests during childhood that made me a really passionate and competitive person. I always had confidence within myself that I could get into modeling or acting. So I sent my pictures to agencies in NYC. Ford contacted me so I came to NYC, then I switched to The Society where I’m represented now. That’s how I got into modeling and I feel really lucky that I got to be a part of it. I travel a lot, but wouldn’t have it any other way.
What inspires you the most?
I get a lot of inspiration from the ’40s and ’50s. I love fashion, class and Chanel number 5. I have a little bit of an obsession with art and literature because it can always be interpreted multiple ways.
Who is your favorite designer to work with and why?
I’ve been blessed to work with amazing people and I feel really lucky. Hedi Slimane has a massive influence on fashion – he’s such an inspiring and creative person. For me it goes beyond fashion, it’s deeper. Raf Simons‘ work is really feminine, and his style is always sensual. Frida Giannini is another great who always makes women look sexy and beautiful at the same time.
Gucci S/S 2015
If you could choose any other fashion era to live in, which would it be and why?
I can imagine myself living in the 80s – that era had all my favorite things: Dirty Dancing, Michael Jackson, leggings, leg warmers, big hair, feminine women and romantic boys. I would definitely do it.
Photographer: Greg Kadel
What is your favorite campaign you’ve ever worked on?
Saint Laurent = amazing experience!
Do you have anything new and exciting coming up that you’d like to tell us about? What are you currently working on?
We love your Instagram, especially the captions combined with the photos. Do you have a favorite writer or wordsmith that inspires you?
I do love Russian literature. It speaks to me and gives me a better understanding of human nature, as Russian writers are focused on human behavior and the way the mind works. My all time favorites include Bulgakov, Pasternak, Nabokov and Lermontov.
Photographer: Greg Kadel
Thanks so much for taking the time out of your globe-trotting schedule, Valery! We totally feel you on the big hair and Russian classics! Click over to models.com to view more gorgeous work.