Rhiannon D’Averc sat down with the designer behind NatalyCouture, to discuss her amazing path into the fashion industry (via styling, personal shopping, dancing, and even real estate) and her plans for the future.
How long were you working as a stylist?
One year – I graduated from the London College of Style and then I was working from Paris. Now I’m a designer. After I was working in Paris, this idea came to my head that it would be good to make these beautiful dresses, but just for rent. But after, people asked me to sell these dresses, and I realised it’s not just something to do for rent – I want to sell these dresses.
Now I just started the brand a few months ago, and the first country where I want to promote my brand is the UK, so I came to London. I think it’s the best place. I’m going to present my collection in London Fashion Week as well, on the 17th September, so now I’m here to organise meetings with models and photographers to organise shooting for magazines. That’s my short story!
But you’re a makeup artist as well?
Yeah, I was starting in New York for six months, but after that I realised… I love makeup and everything, and I was working in London as a makeup artist, with airbrush makeup. Everybody was very impressed with that because it’s only me who was using the airbrush machine, without using my hands. Airbrushing was very popular in the USA, but not here. So, I could be very popular with that here! But I decided to change my specialisation because I love fashion. Fashion is my preference!
Fashion called out to you?
Yeah, I’m a very creative person so it suits me.
Tell me about some of the other work you’ve done in the past.
In Russia, I’m in real estate – completely different! I rented apartments for tourists, and it was a good business in Russia. My education, I’m a psychologist! (laughs) Before I was also a dancer… I can do everything! (laughs)
You’ve assisted Paul Costelloe and Zeynep Kartal, what was that like?
It was with the London College of Style during London Fashion Week. We worked as dressers for the models. Before you can be a stylist, you have to work from the bottom up. We just dressed the models backstage, and afterwards I wrote a blog about that with the process of what we did. I had some pictures with them, because they are famous designers. I would like to work with them, I even tried to message them, but no answer! So I decided, okay, I will work on my own.
Actually, I found a designer, she’s a new one; I messaged her that I wanted to meet with her, I wanted to try my chance while I’m here because I’m only here for six months. Maybe if something is going to be interesting to me, then I’ll stay here more of course, or maybe change my visa and find partners. I found this lady who registered her business in October, and we decided to learn from each other. I’m going to be her assistant for one week, I’ll help her and then she’ll help me. I’m a new designer, because for me really it’s a new thing. I want to learn more things with another designer, so it’s better to be with someone who has the same job as you. Also, her dresses are amazing.
What about the dresses that you make?
I use just Italian and French fabric, no Asian. I start with high quality. My team is in Kazan, it’s in Russia – I work as a designer, I’m drawing everything, and
also work as a couturier. I sew pieces on dresses. I can spend maybe two months on one dress, it’s all handmade work. After the show, I hope I will – (laughs) no, it’s not just about selling, but I want people to know that it’s not just a dress, it’s really hard work. For one dress I spend one month at least. I want to find my public and work for this kind of person.
Who is that ideal person?
Maybe wives of government officials or football players. Now it’s a dream. I just started, but in a few years…
Could you tell me about your personal shopper work?
I just graduated from college, and after I went to Russia because of my visa. Then when I came to Paris, I have a friend there, she was selling dresses and I started to bring her customers. Together we began to work with ladies who go to Fashion Week for example, and they don’t want to spend money just for one day. They come and they trust me, and I find a dress for them! I used to go personal shopping with people, but I didn’t make money from it. Now that I’m a designer, I focus on designing things. Also, I’m learning about styling – it’s a different way of styling. I’m learning every day how to do things, like there are 50 variations of pockets – it’s too much! (laughs) But I’m really interested in men’s fashion. Men don’t complain like women sometimes – I like to work with men because they trust me more.
Will you end up making menswear in the future maybe?
I thought about it, but for now I really want to focus on one thing. But if it’s growing – it will grow, I’m sure, because I work hard – I just need to improve my English maybe! – but I’m sure that after London, in Russia they will really appreciate it. For them London Fashion Week is like, wow! That’s why I’m here.
Why do you think style and fashion is important?
It brings you confidence. I see how people change when I give them a new style. Their face changes – even just with changing the colour. Being a personal shopper, it’s also knowing that the face will completely change with the colour that suits your skin tone. The person changes, even wrinkles can seem to be removed because of the colour. I see their happy face, they start to feel confident, and this really brings me happiness as well. They can even find a good job, because first people look at how someone looks and after how experienced they are.
If everything could go perfectly, how do you see your brand growing?
I want to be international. First in Russia, after I’ve been back to Russia I plan to go to Monaco and register my business in France. I don’t know about England because if I don’t find a partnership, it’s very complicated to stay here. But in France it’s much easier, so I’m looking for an easier way. But in London it’s very hard to come and stay here and do this. After this, we’ll see how it goes. But now I need to calm down! (laughs) So I decided to do it in Russia and France, and if it grows then London for sure. Here there is more competition than anywhere, so first I think I need to do it somewhere else. Even in Paris, in the south of France, in Nice, there are lots of Russians and I have friends who can help me there.
Find out more about Natalia and see her work at Instagram.com/nataunique