Julia Sarkisova: The Oligarch’s Wife As Muse

Godfrey Deeny

Fashion Wire Daily
Oct 21 2009

If you really want to find out if someone is married to, or simply
dates, a deep-pocketed oligarch, then ask them if they have anything
in their wardrobe by Julia Sarkisova.

Sarkisova, an oligarch’s wife herself, staged her second runway show
on Tuesday night, Oct. 20, in Moscow before a packed crowd of Russian
fashionistas, who cheered on her every move and look.

Technically speaking, the collection owed a lot two hit labels from the
West, Roberto Cavalli in Milan and Balmain in Paris, though Sarkisova
did give the collection just enough spin to be justified in putting
her own label on the clothes.

There was an eye-catching amount of "bling-bling" on display on
the front row of Sarkisova’s runway; the Russian economy has just
officially emerged from the recession. Figures released Tuesday
showed that the economy grew by 0.6 percent in the third quarter of
2009; that’s after falling 10.9 percent in the second quarter, in
a record contraction. Plus, with oil reaching over $80 per barrel,
the ruble has steadily risen against the dollar in recent weeks,
fueling optimism here.

"We had a very difficult year last year, for designers and retailers.

But things are on the mend, and fairly rapidly," said Alexander
Shumsky, founder and CEO of Russian Fashion Week.

He noted that the current seven-day season boasts 56 designer runway
shows, compared to 45 shows in the previous season. "Those figures
speak for themselves. It shows there is a lot more belief in the
future," Shumsky added.

Sarkisova’s show felt rather celebratory in mood, as the first models
appeared in faded jeans, bestrewn with crystals and, remarkably,
real diamonds. The clothes are so expensive – certain looks cost in
excess of $100,000 – an extra team of security guarded them backstage,
financed by her Armenian husband, Nicholai Sarkisova.

Jeans, dangling with glitter, paired with craftily dyed vests and
blousons, made, of course, in the wildly expensive hides of chinchilla,
all added to the sense of over-the-top opulence.

While the designer was assured in the day looks and comfortable at
the drinks hour, with some slinky, beaded mini cocktail dresses, she
badly lost direction at night. Her largely predictable ball gowns,
lacy at the top, all satin below, really did not work.

However, her opening ideas will surely find followers, and acquisition
of these clothes should grant one instant membership into a moneyed


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