Issue 54
Alla Kostromichova
Triple-talented Ukrainian, Alla Kostromichova, talks to
Playing Fashion about sinking her nails deep into the fashion industry with the three B’s: brains, beauty and business.
"When I was a little girl, I would look at the models on TV as if they were real princesses,” expresses the alienesque beauty, Alla Kostromichova. “I never had a particular idea of what I wanted to achieve in life. I was good at math and physics, so I received a degree in engineering; though I later realized I did not want to pursue that.” Instead, Ms. Kostromichova traded in her books and pencils for magazine covers and a pair of “Alla” wedges that she inspired Alexander Wang to create and name after her. Appearing in almost every major publication and walking a prestigious line up of shows including Alexander McQueen, Lanvin, Balenciaga and appearing as a Givenchy exclusive, has allowed her to truly be labeled a fashion “chameleon”.

“I have worked in so many different areas of the modeling world,” she says. After years of catwalks and editorial looks, Kostromichova decided to turn her expertise into a business by founding KModels – a modeling agency based in Kiev, Ukraine.

Here, the twenty-seven year old chats with Playing Fashion about her growing business, beauty, and her dreams of acting, giving us a glimpse of what form this shapeshifter will take next.

I GREW UP IN THE BEST PLACE - Sevastopol, South of Crimea, with views of the sea every morning from my window. I pray for Ukraine, hoping there will be no more victims in my country. Now happiness is in small, everyday things. I love watching TV. I know it’s a waste of time, but I eat healthy, I don't smoke and I don't drink alcohol; so let it be my small weakness.

MY MOTHER IS A VERY WISE WOMAN. She never tried to pacify me during tough times. Instead, she was just strong and supportive. We were shooting Vogue Nippon with Sølve Sundsbø and I spent two days underwater with a horrible fever. My mom's heart was ripping apart, but she told me to get up and do the job, knowing how important it was for me.

I WAS RECEIVING A LOT OF QUESTIONS from girls asking for advice, about their potential, or seeking help in dealing with unprofessional mother agencies. At some point, I realized that it could turn into something bigger so I launched KModels.

“WHY HER, NOT ME?” is one of the toughest issues a young model has to deal with. I teach my girls everything: how to act with clients and with the agency, how to fight with stress, stereotypes, and critics. I teach them how to walk and explain their mistakes in photos. This industry is built on communication and with the experience I have behind me, I will always understand what my girls are going through.

I LIKE TO PLAY BAD GIRLS. Being someone else helps me answer my own questions; it’s like a mental workout. The Vogue Russia "Cruella De Vil" story I shot is one of my favorites. I would like to pursue acting, so if I ever do a movie, I’d love to play Miss de Vil.

I ADMIRE NATALIA VODIANOVA. Her story tells such a great tale of support and sharing. Helping others after reaching her success is something she does very naturally, the same way she exudes elegance. I did a charity she organized (“Love Ball”) in Valentino's residence in Paris and it was one of the most beautiful shows I have ever done.

TORTURING YOURSELF for some doubtful weight goal is never a solution and I don't think that external beauty can exist simultaneously with internal anxiety. I identify beauty with health and believe it should be comfortable. Find a balance in your regime, then add workouts and healthy nutrition.

BREAKFAST IS THE MOST IMPORTANT MEAL of the day. I wake up 30 minutes early so I can take my time and enjoy a shower and breakfast with oatmeal and fruits. I am also a big tea person and I always start my day with a big cup of some tropical green. I also play tennis and do yoga.

SKIN IS A REFLECTION OF YOUR LIFESTYLE. The healthier you live, the better the skin. You need to find “your” moisturizer, which for me is La Roche Posay’s Toleriane Ultra. To complete my “look”, I also use Dior liners and shadows, along with Nars’ jungle red lipstick and their lengthening mascara. I would advise everyone to see a professional make-up artist at least once so you can learn how to sculpt your face using cosmetics. Also, “Enchanted Forest” by The Vagabond Prince is my latest go-to fragrance. I love it and so does my boyfriend!

FIVE THINGS I CAN’T LEAVE HOME WITHOUT… You know, it’s funny, but I recently realized that the lighter my bag is, the happier I feel. I even read an article saying a heavy bag is a symptom of depression. For me, it’s simple: lip balm, metro card, credit card and my model book. So see, not even five!

Photography by Zev Starr-Tambor; styling by Robert Mishchenko; hair by Mari Watase & Hiroya Watase; make-up by Colleen Runné using NARS Cosmetics; model: Alla Kostromichova/ Supreme; stylist's assistant: Annie Meng.

Casting Director: Megan McCluskie.

Opening Image: shirt by Joe Fresh; necklace by Heidi Gardner; ring by Zales.
Words by Bert Martirosyan

Be ready to roll with these intense beauties.