“Books can change your life,"
says Creative Director Olga Sorokina, who encountered the story of Maison IRFĒ and set out to revive the legendary couture house in 2006. Since 1924, Maison IRFĒ has captured the hearts of Fashion insiders for its modern, original, refined taste consistent with the spirit of its time. Established in Paris by Prince Felix Yousoupoff of Russia and his wife Irina Romanova, who is the niece of Tsar Nicholas II, it is the first Fashion house founded by Russian aristocrats. During its short-lived but successful seven years, collections - often modelled by Irina herself – were well praised and loved. French Vogue once wrote, “the collection that you see is a selection at the same time, since it has no unsuccessful models.”
At our shoot at London’s The Connaught, we learn how the momentous future of Masion IRFĒ falls on Olga’s slender shoulders, as she slowly but steadily creates a new chapter in the history of a house acknowledged by Fashion historians as one of the major powers in Fashion during the Roaring Twenties.
I FIRST LEARNT ABOUT IRFĒ
from the book Beauty in Exile (by Alexander Vasiliev). My life changed quite a lot after I read that book. I would never have imagined this story would have so much influence on me rather than on anyone else. As I studied the history of Maison IRFĒ and set out to revive it, I learnt there was an heir – Countess Xenia Cheremeteff-Sfiris, the granddaughter of Prince and Princess Youssoupoff. Countess Xenia’s consent was essential for the Fashion House to be revived. A young man from an aristocratic French family helped me to compose a letter to Countess Xenia.
IRFĒ WAS NEVER CONSIDERED AS A CLASSIC BRAND.
It was founded in Paris by representatives of the royal family, but it was a bit eccentric. The first house in the world founded by Russians and very soon it will be very competitive.
FOUR YEARS WITHOUT A SHOW.
We have been developing step by step to figure out what is the best. We assembled a team, built a platform - it takes time. I decided that the first IRFĒ fashion show will happen this year because this year is the 400th anniversary of the Romanov’s Dynasty. I'm happy that everything is as it turns out, that means I did everything right.
IT IS DIFFICULT TO GIVE ADVICE
because I think only women after 30 years old are able to give good pieces of advice... As for me – I eat a lot, never get enough sleep, everything I do in my life has to give me energy and then I feel I look good, but it’s not easy! I work hard and I am also busy taking care of my family and trying to keep up with what is happening in the world of fashion and art, and I believe that a woman has always to look good no matter what. I prefer to go to beauty salons and SPAs in Moscow, as I consider them the best in the world.
I TRY EVERYTHING ON MYSELF
to decide what is better. I like to try on different image. The most favourite pieces in my wardrobe are hats and anything that can be worn on the head. I also often buy pieces from the men’s collections. Usually my wardrobe includes different brands. I like shoes from Balenciaga, Celine and Givenchy.
THE ONLY WAY TO MAKE HISTORY
is a campaign that aligns with the philosophy of the brand. I like everything Mert and Marcus shoot very much, they do not try to imitate, but they shoot what is happening “here and now”, just what I do for IRFĒ.
MY SIGNATURE IS MY COLLECTIONS.
I work as if IRFĒ did not stop working during all these 80 years. IRFĒ collections are actual. This is exactly what is missing in the market.
Photography by Luc Coiffait; styling by Heather Falconer; Make-up by Lucy Evans; hair by Kaela Tsenti / Vidal Sassoon.
Location: The Connaught Hotel.