My Style: Anastasia Romantsova

Portrait of fashion designer Anastasia Romantsova

Photo: Andrew Bayda — Courtesy of Anastasia Romantsova

Which city has the best-dressed women?

It’s difficult to choose, each city has their women. And what is most important is that they all are different. But if I had to choose a few I would say women from Paris, London, New York. I’d like to finish up my list of cities with Moscow, the heart of parties, nightlife, and glossiness. Everyone who comes to Moscow will back me up on this point: women here are especially feminine — high heels, long dresses, and perfect hairdos. No matter how hard they work, they always find time to take care of their beauty.

A La Russe dress

Please describe your style in three words.

Feminine, elegant, and 'à la russe'.

What is the biggest mistake one can make when getting dressed?

When a woman chooses an outfit that doesn't highlight her femininity and complement her natural beauty. This doesn't mean she should show a lot of skin of course, but a woman should love herself the way she is and not hide her inner charm. A true woman should always listen to how she feels and never be afraid of experimenting.

Do you believe in role models?

One of my favourite role models is Audrey Hepburn. She brought delicate elegance to the world and became a true icon of beauty. Huge sunglasses that cover half of the face, trapeze jackets, a string of pearls, ballet flats, a black shift dress without sleeves, but with traditional black gloves — that will always be associated only with Audrey and no one else. That’s what I call the perfect and spotless role model.

What are your favourite fabrics?

I love silk for its gentle and feminine silhouette; one can create amazing forms with this fabric. In particular, crêpe de Chine is comfortable and has an elastic structure.

Would you say that you are conservative or bold?

You should be bold to stay conservative.

What are the rules in the way you dress?

I don’t mean to be repetitive, but I always make it a point to dress in a feminine way and somewhat timeless, and not to follow fashion trends. My ideal wardrobe should be comfortable, diversified but not messy nor irregular. The 'à la russe' way to dress is classy and elegant, but we don’t limit ourselves to any frames.

Celebrities and style...

Is always an unpredictable mix. Sometimes they can be world-known trendsetters and at other times their style can be too flamboyant and extravagant! But it’s always interesting to watch them.

Name one garment/accessory that you can never have enough of?

A sheath dress from the A La Russe Base collection.

A La Russe FW collection

A woman should always look like…

An elegant lady.

Who taught you what you know about style?

Russian culture and art. Our history is so deep — the literature, music, and paintings. You can always find something to be inspired by. And of course I also learned a lot from my family, my grandmother specifically. Etiquette and style were extremely important in her upbringing; she was raised in traditions of a college for noble ladies. My grandmother was a great needlewoman — she made not only clothes, but also tablecloths, towels, pillowcases, cross-stitch embroidery, collars and cuffs for a school uniform of lace, and embroidered cutwork — everything was handmade. She even made a cape for herself and her daughters from her husband’s parachute.

How do you select your clothing every morning?

A La Russe's Base collection makes it easy to choose my outfits every morning because the pieces were created for a fast-paced lifestyle and are easy to mix and match. But I have to admit, my look doesn’t usually feel complete without a spritz of our new A La Russe perfume.

What is your biggest regret?

When I see a girl who spoils herself with an excessive amount of make-up and the wrong clothes.

The three essential things a woman should know about style are…

Style is timeless. It puts a woman first rather than the clothes. Style makes you unique!

Do you have any shopping rituals?

I love flea markets. I could wander there for hours, touching things that hold history such as home furniture and antiques, much of which now attracts the attention of the guests at our Moscow boutiques.

We will never see you wearing…

There is a Russian proverb — never say never. But I don’t like wearing black or unisex things!

A La Russe dress

Which new designers do you follow and why?

I love swimsuits by La Perla; they are elegant and practical at the same time.

Who is the most stylish person you have ever seen?

Every season I look for my ideal stylish heroine who has her own story and symbolises the whole collection. For example, the heroine of A La Russe Fall 2013 collection was Lara from Boris Pasternak's novel 'Dr. Zhivago'. We reviewed her image and created a fairy aristocrat.

What is the first thing you notice on a woman?

It may sound corny, but first of all I look at her eyes, as they are the window into a person’s soul. Remember what magical eyes Audrey Hepburn had? She was called “a little girl with eyes looking for a true love”. Eyes don’t need clothes or jewellery, but they always show a person’s character. So, I look at her eyes and imagine an ideal image for her.

A La Russe

What are the most treasured items in your wardrobe?

My prom dress, sewn by my sister, and also the dress with original peafowl lace from my Fall 2012 collection, sewn by my mother.

The one image that defined your approach to style…

A noble woman, full of deliberate thoughtfulness, who is romantic, sophisticated, traditional, and elegant. This is also the DNA of our brand.

Which designer never fails to impress you?

A La Russe! It may sound presumptuous, but I can’t give another answer. My whole life is devoted to this brand, my entire family participates in it; it means so much to all of us!

One article of clothing that a woman needs to pay close attention to is…

Everything really but most importantly the cut! It creates the most ideal silhouette.

Is comfort an enemy of style?

Absolutely not. My collection proves that style and comfort are inalienable.

Who would you like to recommend for My Style?

Dasha Zhukova.

The best words of advice you have ever heard?

"Never ask for anything! Never for anything, and especially from those who are stronger than you." — This phrase is from my favourite novel by Mikhail Bulgakov, 'The Master and Margarita'.

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