The first time I met Katya, she was wearing a black lace overcoat. I liked the simplicity yet elegance of the piece. When she said it was her design she had me interested. Katya is a fighter. She was a fashion journalist in London, working with Vogue China, GQ, Tatler, Vogue Russia... One day she decided to give a chance to the hand-made dresses she had been making for years and create her own brand Katya Kovtunovich. Since she started in 2010, her elegant dresses have traveled to Monaco, France, Russia, the Seychelles and Oman and have been worn by celebrities like H.S.H. Princess Charlene of Monaco, Sophie Ellis-Bextor, Vanessa Hudgen etc... Katya is inspired but down-to-earth: her creations are tasteful and affordable. She is full of energy and knows what she wants, I like that.Have a look at her collections here.
HOB: If you could live in a painting, which one would it be?
K.K.: It would be Gustav Klimt's "The Kiss". This painting is filled with such thrilling harmony and love that every time I look at it I can not take my eyes of it. If I was to describe the state when I create - I would describe it with this painting.
HOB: If you could live in a different era, which one would you pick and why?
K.K.: I hink it would be the end of 19th century and beginning of the 20th. I love the transition of cultures, the change and the beautiful values and ambitions that people had. This is the time of my great grandmother – a professor of 8 languages, who graduated from la Sorbonne. I look at her photographs, at the strong look on her face, the beautiful long dress, the proud majestic posture – I really look up to those times and values!
HOB: What piece of clothing reminds you of your mother/father?
K.K.: Probably my mother’s jumpsuit. She made it for herself when she was 20 years old and I took it out of her closet when I was 20 and it was a booming hit. I still have it. This is how my love story with jumpsuits started.
HOB: What scent takes you right back to your childhood?
K.K.: Forest after the rain and fresh mushrooms. As a child my parents often took me to the forest to pick mushrooms. There is something mysterious and magic in this smell for me. Then we used to fry them at home and it was the most delicious thing you could imagine.
HOB: When do you feel on holidays?
K.K.: I feel on holiday when I can have breakfast and go back to bed! When my days only consist of “I want” and not “I should”. When I can go for a 2 hours swim in the sea and literally forget about everything.
HOB: What designer would you take with you on a camel ride?
K.K.: I would take only myself! I think of a camel ride as of a very spiritual journey. Since I read Paolo Coelho’s “The Alchemist”, the bit where the main character is crossing the desert by night on a camel - it became my dream. I think it is a very moving experience that takes you centuries back – when all the modern gadgets didn’t really work – all you have to do is to follow the stars, control the camel and embrace being one on one with the whole Universe.
HOB: Your favourite recipe to make?
K.K.: I do not have time to cook right now, but I guess, being Russian – it is the famous beetroot soup Borsch.
HOB: Best piece of advice you were ever given?
K.K.: To do what I believe in.
HOB: What book changed your life?
K.K.: Probably “Lust for life” by Irving Stone – a life story of Vincent Van Gogh. I read it when I was 14 and it made me realise that if you believe in something so strongly that it is burning you from inside, you should do it regardless of what everyone around says. Even if while walking your path you will suffer and end up in poverty. Sometimes it takes a few years or decades for people to realise and appreciate what you were trying to say and to do.
This helped me when for at least 6 years when smy family did not understand my aspiration with fashion journalism and design. When I had my 4 pages article published in Russian Vogue none of them thought it was really an achievement. Though for a girl born in the middle of nowhere in Russia to get to write for the best fashion magazine in the country – where millions of girls dream to be – to be honest, was quite something.
The same when I started my own fashion brand. My brother only started believing in me when my dresses were chosen by Princess Charlene of Monaco and fiancée of Andrea Bocelli. You just have to keep going.
HOB: The movie you've watched already 30 times but might watch again tonight?
K.K.: La Parisienne with Brigitte Bardot. Just such a light and witty comedy and very empowering.
HOB: Three favourite spots in Dubai?
K.K.: My design studio, the desert where I ride horses and DIFC for its stunning architecture and beautiful people.