2002 was a very successful year for Evgenia Volodina. She was invited to participate in fashion weeks. Balmain, Christian Dior, Givenshy, and Jean-Paul Gaultier invited Zhenya to demonstrate the spring-summer 2002 haute couture collections - a very honorable list for any model. But the most important of the season was perhaps the show of the Japanese Junya Watanabe
On September 17, 1984, in the city of Kazan, the future fashion star Evgenia Volodina was born. Zhenya grew up in a big friendly family. In addition to her parents and grandmothers, her sisters and brother surrounded her. The Volodin family has always been considered prosperous: the children grew up in prosperity and did not need anything. All the girls in the family were very beautiful. In the mid-1990s, the older sister Julia dreamed of becoming a model, who had all the data for this. But then the modeling business seemed very dubious. Too many dark personalities revolved around girls who took to the podium, and this profession in Russia looked completely unsafe.
Evgeniya Volodina photography Evgeniya Volodina photography Evgenia Volodina came to her first modeling studio for a company with a friend. The girls went to a teenage studio that existed at the Lik fashion theater. Zhenya either quit classes or started again. In 2000, she again renewed her passion. Modeling classes for teens included several subjects: style, visage, psychology, acting, gait and choreography. Zhenya treated these activities as pleasant entertainment. Nobody seriously thought that the girl was waiting for the future of a professional model.
Evgenia Volodina finished school. It was necessary to determine the choice of profession. Like many Russian graduates, she planned to go to university. Kazan State Power Engineering University was chosen as the place of study. Nevertheless, Zhenya decided to take part in the Miss Advertising contest.
Evgeniya Volodina photography Evgeniya Volodina photography By coincidence, Moscow photographer Alexei Vasiliev came to the competition - the same one who found Natalia Vodianova in Nizhny Novgorod two years earlier. At the competition, he took several pictures of Evgenia Volodina and sent them to Paris, to the Viva agency. A few months later, Alexey called back to Kazan and said that they wanted to see Zhenya in Paris. In reality, the decision to leave her was not at all as obvious as it might seem at first glance. Whether she would like her in Paris, whether she could stay - all this was unknown.
At home, however, there were tangible real prospects: studying at the university, higher education. Nevertheless, Zhenya chose Paris. It was a chance that I didn't want to miss. In addition, in case of failure, the institute could try to enter the next year. And in some ways it was for the better, this pause - during the year one could calmly think about what I really wanted from life and what I didn't.
But most importantly, Zhenya Volodina really wanted to get to Paris. It was the city of her dreams. This was the place where she wanted to be from childhood. Moreover, it was not a simple tourist trip for several days. Evgenia Volodina had the opportunity to live in this city - to walk along the Seine embankments, turn off to familiar boulevards, sit in her favorite cafes. And all this not as a casual visitor, but as a person who feels Paris as his own.
Like many aspiring fashion models, the first year in Paris was not at all easy. Zhenya lived in the same conditions in which all novice models found themselves. Income less than $ 100 per week. A modest apartment rented by an agency for two with another model girl (Evgenia Volodina's neighbor was from England). Endless castings in different parts of the city. But the most difficult thing was that Zhenya was alone - neither mother, nor father, nor sisters and brother, to whom she was so accustomed and who supported her so much. The most difficult are the first months, when you still do not know a fluent spoken language and there is no opportunity to communicate freely. And it seems that nobody needs you in this foreign metropolis. And that it will always be this way - hard days, lonely evenings and screenings where you were not chosen again. Hope for the best appeared only after Zhenya was noticed by the famous photographer Steven Meisel.
By the time they met, Meisel had been considered a fashion and fashion photography star for at least twenty years. He was born in 1954 in New York. Fashion magazines have been his hobby since childhood. There is a legend that at the age of 12, Meisel specially came to the studio of photographer Melvin Sokolsky to see Twiggy, a famous model of that time.
For filming, Stephen Meisel invited Evgenia Volodina to New York. But from the very beginning everything went somehow wrong: Zhenya had a cold for all two weeks, the shooting was either postponed or canceled. In the end, that shoot didn't work out. However, despite the unfortunate failure, this was still a breakthrough: she was noticed, and very serious photographers began to invite her to work. This gave, if not confidence, then at least hope for a professional future.
And yet it was Stephen Meisel who gave rise to Volodina's real career. Meisel photographed Eugenia for the cover of Italian Vogue in 2002. He really liked both her appearance and her ability to work. With his light hand, Evgenia Volodina got the nickname Zhenya Zhenial - Genius Zhenya. This shooting for "Vogue" became Zhenya's first big success and gave impetus to her subsequent professional growth.
2002 was a very successful year for Evgenia Volodina. She was invited to participate in fashion weeks. Balmain, Christian Dior, Givenshy, and Jean-Paul Gaultier invited Zhenya to demonstrate the spring-summer 2002 haute couture collections - a very honorable list for any model. But the most important of the season was perhaps the show of the Japanese Junya Watanabe.
In the same year, Evgenia Volodina received the first really large offer. Together with Natalia Vodianova, she became the face of the Gucci advertising campaign. This legendary fashion house was founded by Guccio Gucci back in 1921 and is today one of the oldest European brands. After the death of the founder, the company was inherited by his sons - the family had six children.
Tom Ford was very supportive of Evgenia Volodina's appearance as the face of the brand. Zhenya's appearance was the best fit for the image of "Gucci". She was very elegant and at the same time somewhat reminiscent of a headstrong teenager who ran away from home to live her own, independent life. It was a new image of the femme fatale - gentle and at the same time dangerous because of her dazzling beauty. This kind of character was required by "Gucci".
The photographs were commissioned by Mario Testino, another photographer whose name is legendary in fashion. SuperMario, and this is how it is customary to call this master, who worked with Versace and Madonna, who shot Kate Moss and Princess Diana, was also a man of a very difficult fashionable biography. He was born in the mid-1950s in Peru, Lima, and until a certain point did not think about a career as a glossy photographer. Testino studied economics, law and international relations at prestigious universities: he had every chance of becoming a successful lawyer.
But he chose a different path. In 1976, Mario Testino came to London and began to study photography. He made a living by preparing a portfolio for girls who dreamed of becoming models. It's hard to believe now that his picture, along with the services of a hairdresser and makeup artist, cost only 25 pounds. Today, Mario Testino's fees are calculated in very different amounts.
In the photos of Mario, Zhenya looked like a chic and stubborn girl - with an inner sense of style and strong character. The advertising campaign of the Gucci fashion house that year was done in black and white, and this made you remember not only the world of fashion, but also about art photography. This gesture, in turn, implied that "Gucci" is not only a fashionable, but also an artistic phenomenon: it was about several other accents in brand positioning. The refined and complex image of Evgenia Volodina was very useful in this situation. A year after this shooting, it was officially announced that "Gucci" and Tom Ford were breaking off their relationship and the great American was leaving the famous fashion house. In March 2004, his latest collection was presented. Not only in the Gucci house, but also in world fashion, a whole era ended, of which Zhenya Volodina was a part.
In that stunning career that Evgenia made, becoming one of the most successful models of the decade, there were, however, not only ups, but also failures. A very offensive incident happened in 2003. Evgenia Volodina attracted the attention of the Christian Dior company. Zhenya was chosen as the new face of the J'adore fragrance. This perfume was successfully launched in 1999 and two years later, in 2001, it was recognized as the fragrance of the year.
The heroine of the first advertising campaign "J'adore", which began immediately after the launch of the fragrance, was the Estonian model Carmen Kass. She has lived and worked in Paris since the late 1990s, has appeared in advertisements for almost all famous brands and was one of the most popular models of the 2000s. In 2000, Vogue magazine and VH1 channel named her Model of the Year. Therefore, it is not surprising that in due time it was she who was offered to become the face of the new perfumery project “Dior”. In 2003, the idea arose to slightly change the image of the fragrance and invite another model for filming.
Evgenia Volodina was chosen for the new version of the J'adore advertisement. She passed the casting, several photos were taken. For this shoot, she had to change her hair color: she became a blonde. But at the very last moment, the plans changed. It was decided to dispense with major updates: the company again signed a contract with Carmen Kass. Zhenya's collaboration with Christian Dior perfumery did not work out. A few years later a new model was found for J'adore. She also became a model from Estonia - Tiiu Kuik. All three girls were shot by the same photographer - the famous Jean-Baptiste Mondino.
However, this unfortunate failure did not prevent Evgenia Volodina from becoming, after a while, the heroine of the perfumery of other well-known companies. Among the fragrances she presented are In Love Again (Yves Saint Laurent), Incanto (Sal-vatore Ferragamo) and V (Valentino). Zhenya had an impeccable track record. It contained all the most famous names in world fashion.
Over the next few years, Evgenia Volodina not only starred in significant advertising campaigns - and she became the face of Celine, Dolce & Gabbana, Fendi - but also actively participated in fashion shows. In the coming years, she appeared on the catwalks more than 1,500 times. There were so many photographic series with her participation in fashion magazines that the effect of a constant presence arose. Zhenya became a model, without which it was impossible to imagine the last few years. And in a way, she was a sign of this time.
But the most surprising thing was different. Despite her stellar fees, which now amounted to tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars, she somehow remained that naive little girl who bought herself elegant things in Kazan for a trip to Paris. She still cares deeply for her brother and sisters; she spent the first large fee to buy a new apartment for her parents. Despite her success, she has remained a member of the large family that follows her progress at home.
- For my relatives, I'm not a chic model at all. I'm just who I am, '' she says in an interview.
Evgenia Volodina was never able to fall in love with New York. She prefers Paris, to the amazing magic of which she is still not fully accustomed to. The profession forces you to live between Paris, Milan and London. But when asked whether she considers herself a representative of the international fashion world, Zhenya invariably answers: "I am a Russian model." And in this ease of answers to controversial questions, one feels a quality that she considers one of the most important - respect for herself and for people.
In a professional environment, there is an opinion that beauty is more of an internal state, and not just a feature of facial features. For Evgenia Volodina, such an undoubted quality is her inner nobility, which makes her a unique character in modern fashion. With her success, she seems to confirm the thesis that it is not enough to look beautiful - you must be worthy.
This is the very quality that attracts in Wife those who see her as the heroine of their advertising campaigns. Self-esteem is a state that cannot be drawn or, like a chic dress, put on for one evening and then hidden in a closet. Evgenia Volodina again reminded us and the whole world that one of our export items is still the mysterious Russian soul.♦