Moscow is a city in flux: the billionaires are in retreat and a new post-Soviet youth are rising. Emblematic of this change is 34-year-old style ambassador Anna Dyulgerova.
Moscow is a city in flux: the billionaires are in retreat and a new post-Soviet youth are rising. Emblematic of this change is 34-year-old style ambassador Anna Dyulgerova. A striking brunette, Dyulgerova first cultivated a love of fashion at the age of 15 when she started hanging out with older boys who were exchanging matryoshkas and other souvenirs for the clothes of American tourists. “No kidding,” she recalls, “To have L.L.Bean boots and Levi's jeans back in mid 1990s Russia was about getting to know a different world.” With such cultural signifiers firmly etched in her mind, she went on to work as a receptionist at the newly launched Russian Vogue, working her way up to become Executive Fashion Editor under the visionary Aliona Doletskaya. “I loved working there,” she elaborates, “You have to understand there was no internet media at the time, no independent press, Vogue was the only source of decent information for everyone, fashionistas and culturally engaged people. These were blissful times – everyone was doing everything for the first time in this industry.”
Restless for a new challenge, she left to become CEO of veteran Moscow-based designer Denis Simachev before eventually branching out on her own to create Cycles and Seasons, as an edgier alternative to Moscow Fashion Week. “The initial idea was to set up a new platform for fashion designers I was sure of as great creative minds but as well as sustainable producers.” It was also her battle against the short-term mentality that plagues the Moscow fashion scene – “There is still long way to go for them. People in Russia tend to go for an immediate result, it's in our mentality – it is because people don't really know if there is a tomorrow.”
One of her finds was Gosha Rubchinskiy who has gone on to win worldwide recognition for his spin on disaffected Moscow youth. “I like his take on teenage rage and rebel. He manages to convert it into the fashion product desired by many, and this is what I think the talent of a fashion designer is- to take low key things, cultural aspects, artefacts of your childhood, aesthetics you’re passionate about and redefine them and make them a product. I very much love Gosha for that. He is also growing into a very strong photographer. I just hope he doesn't quit doing fashion!”
Dyulgerova is cautiously optimistic about the changes she has seen post recession – “Moscow has definitely become healthier in terms of consuming and just in the way people live their everyday lives. We just had a new mayor and we all hope for changes.” But what she find inspiring are those who don’t wait but facilitate change themselves. “Look at Strelka Institute for Architecture, Media and Design, look at what The Village, an online resource for all things in Moscow does, at what Dasha Zhukova does, what Maria Baibakova pulls together. There is always a way to make things happen.”
A documentary filmmaker by education, Dyulgerova moves seamlessly between the worlds of art, culture and fashion. Her newest initiative – a collaboration with the concept store and gallery, Sanahunt is a three-day cultural event called Kiev (from 19-21 May) taking place in the Ukrainian capital, will feature an eclectic mix of luminaries such as 032c’s Joerg Koch curating a group and a 3D screening of a fashion show by Joseph Altuzarra.