International model Katia E went from her first magazine shoot to working with leading design houses, fashion brands, photographers, directors, magazines and salons in just nine years. Not content with working with big names in these industries, she’s also a graduate from Queen Mary Law School in London and spreads her influence to worlds away from modeling and fashion. Also a campaigner for the rights of those in the fashion industry, from models right through to factory workers, she addressed the Oxford Union in 2009 to speak on the world of modeling, its rewards and its not so apparent downfalls and health issues. The Russian-born Katia E comes to the UK via Paris, Milan, Tokyo and Hamburg, and in the hectic run-up to London Fashion Week Hg2 managed to slow her down long enough to talk all things fashion.
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Name: Katia Elizarova
Are you a hedonist? I love life and finding pleasure in everything I do is really important to me. So… yes, I’m definitely a hedonist!
There are plenty of models out there. Why do you think you’ve become so well-known, and what marks you out from the catwalk crowd? Gaining notoriety in any industry is challenging, and when you add to the mix huge competition, vicious high-heels and the constant threat of not fitting with the fashion industry’s fickle sense of beauty, it can be really tough. Being aware of this, I’ve always tried to keep a foot in the ‘real world’; trying out new things, going to new places and meeting different people. That’s helped me to be confident in developing my own sense of style, character and a look that’s not constrained by the seasons. As for the catwalk crowd: Who wants to be part of the crowd? I’m an individual!
When did you become involved with LFW, and how do you contribute? My first experience of London Fashion Week was when I was 17 and invited to rock the catwalk for Karen Walker, Jasper Conran and Preen. It was an extremely exciting and exhilarating time as it was my first real taste of London. Every year LFW gets bigger and bigger and models look forward to wearing the clothes designed by exceptionally creative, quirky and inspirational British talent. There are shows, shoots and parties every day and I’m usually found running from one to the next!
Where do the best LFW parties take place? Honestly? Backstage! But away from the shows the designers and sponsors love to throw ever-more lavish events at places like Bungalow 8, Maddox and Tantra throughout Fashion Week.
Do you think there’s a specific ‘London look’? Absolutely. If you travel the world you can see hugely how styles change as you move from city to city. London is a fantastic mix of world influences that all come together to create confident, self assured styles that are inspirational yet accessible, quirky, glamourous and rooted in the London’s street culture. When you care little for the crowd and love the clothes you are in, you have the ‘London Look’.
Where does LFW fit in with New York/Milan/Paris? It’s the forth corner of the fashion world! Without London, there’d be nowhere that couples good old-fashioned eccentricity with beloved traditionalism. As predictable as that may sound, it’s not only the fashion that makes LFW the talk of the world’s glitterati, it’s the parties, people and atmosphere that make it like no other Fashion show on earth. Neither Milan, Paris nor New York will ever have the ingredients that inspire the UK’s designers to be as unpredictable and exciting as they are, and that’s why I love it!
In London, what is your favourite…
Baglioni near Hyde Park. It is ‘city luxury’ and the perfect distance from all the best things about London – great restaurants, amazing shopping, beautiful parks and some cool clubs.
Occasionally, Nobu, Rocca or Zuma. But when I think of a place where I can relax after a hectic day with the best crab linguine anywhere it has to be Geales in Notting Hill. Although, if you are somehow trapped on Regent street and famished after all that shopping, I strongly suggest Tibits on Heddon Street. It’s a place where food is so healthy and delicious, that you might convert to vegetarianism and think of booking yoga classes.
Bar? I really love just hanging out where I live, so The Botanist on Sloane Square is always fun.
Club? Maddox is good to mingle with the crowd. But, if you prefer something a little smaller and a lot more friendly and cool then it has to be Kitts on Sloane Square.
Shop? The small back streets that crisscross Kings Road are the places where you can uncover the hidden gems of London’s boutique shopping. You never know what you will find. But what you won’t find is something everybody else has already discovered!
Spa? I like the Berkley Spa in London for its luxury, but I’m not one for staying in town to reinvigorate and relax, it’s not that far to Bath or a nice country retreat!
Cultural sight? If you walk along London’s South Bank you can discover some of its best sights, sounds and tastes all lined up in a row. From the fantastic view from the OXO Tower, a must while enjoying a long cocktail, to the sights and sounds of the National Theatre, Royal Festival Hall and the Hayward Gallery, it is the perfect place to waste away the hours. But for me, I am enchanted by the Royal Courts of Justice and the hidden little passages and gardens of the Inns of Court.
Finally, what’s next for you? I’m always looking out for what’s next. I’ve just finished shooting a new campaign for Rimmel London with Zooey Deschanel which will be out soon, and I’m exploring new opportunities in 2011. Who knows… maybe you’ll see my face smiling back at you somewhere very soon.