Work is in full swing at the Pollini head office, an hour’s drive from Bologna, as all efforts are being made to prepare for the presentation at Milan Fashion Week. Tomorrow, February 21, in addition to the main autumn-winter collection, they will also show a special capsule, which the brand invited the Moscow fashionista Natalia Osmann to work on. Vogue met with Natalya to be the first to see the results of the collaboration and to ask about the path to a million followers on Instagram, fashion taboos and an irreplaceable pair of shoes.
You and your husband have five million Instagram subscribers for two. How did you become popular?
It so happened that on our first trip together with Murad, it was in Barcelona, we took the first photo for FollowMeTo. Murad loves to take pictures, and then I was very embarrassed and could not pose for him, so I took him by the hand and just led him somewhere further forward. He caught the moment – we call him the starting point of our relationship. Over time, we began to travel more, more and more often broke out for long weekends and took more and more photos for ourselves and our parents as a keepsake. A year and a half later, they wrote about us on Reddit, and after this publication there was some kind of boom: within a week, media from all over the world – from British and American to Brazilian and Chinese – wrote about FollowMeTo. We certainly did not expect this.
How has being famous and having so many followers changed your life?
The attitude has changed: what we do is more than just pictures for relatives. And of course, there was a responsibility for what we write and post. But emotionally, nothing has changed: Murad and I are very similar in that when we achieve something – be it our own program on Channel One, books, advertising billboards in Times Square, collaborations, or, for example, a meeting with Ivanka Trump – we are aware of what we have achieved after the fact. Only after a lapse of time we look back at what happened with the words: “Oh, we did it!” Interestingly, with FollowMeTo we did not quit our main job: Murad still works at Hype Production, and I am engaged in digital production within his company.
What is your first fashion-related memory?
I was born in Germany, where my dad was in military service, and came to the Soviet Union when I was already six years old. There was nothing here at that time. I grew up quickly, my mother got out as best she could – there was no special opportunity to buy clothes. I am immensely grateful to her for the fact that she sewed everything for me: she took her old German dresses and sewed them for me according to the patterns from the Burda magazine.
A new fashion season is ahead. Have you already looked after something for yourself in the spring-summer collections?
Of course, I really liked the monochrome Max Mara kits in the most beautiful shades of beige and khaki. And these flying Etro dresses are colored with openwork inserts! From season to season I love Alberta Ferretti – for its elegance and femininity, and I still can’t live without Alessandra Rich dresses.
Is there something you would never wear?
Never ever talk about fashion. I thought many times: “God, no, this is definitely not mine,” but the season passed, and something like that still appeared in the wardrobe. So it was with things with a python or leopard print. The wild print is back, and I’ve incorporated a few pieces into my wardrobe on Mount Muradu. What I don’t like at all is the rough shoes. On someone else – good, but it’s hard for me to imagine myself in this. I’m more for the classics.
Are you traveling light or are you carrying things for all occasions?
Murad always has a suitcase of equipment with him, and I have a suitcase with outfits for filming: couture dresses that brands lend to me, and things made especially for me. There are enough classics for every day: jeans and comfortable hoodies are always with me. I also take a pair of shoes – you don’t always know in advance when you need to go to an important dinner.
How did your collaboration with Pollini start?
Of the Russian bloggers, I’m the only one working with Condé Nast Talent Agency, they were the ones who once introduced us to the Aeffe Group, which includes Philosophy, Alberta Ferretti and Pollini. At the presentation of the latter last fall, I was introduced to the leadership of the brand, it turned out that we were on the same wavelength and liked each other. Very quickly, Pollini returned with a proposal to make a capsule together. Of course, like many girls, I have always dreamed that I would have the opportunity to do something of my own with a world brand, and Pollini is a company with great opportunities that were at my disposal.
It was very easy to work with the guys. Before that I had not seen some things live – we worked mainly by correspondence. For me, this is the first experience of such work, and I really want the collection to be liked by customers and become successful.
Describe this collection?
It turned out to be bright enough. Although the main shades are restrained – brown, beige, a little terracotta – but somewhere we added metal, and somewhere crystals will appear.
What’s your favorite pair in the collection?
One is not! Everything is cool in its own way: there are brighter ones, for example, classic red shoes with crystals, and there are beige pumps for every day – irreplaceable.
You can only take one pair of shoes on your dream trip. What direction and what pair will it be?
While all of my favorites are sneakers, I will go for the feminine open heeled sandals. And let it be in Marrakech.
What fashion advice would you give yourself as a teenager?
My generation was brought up to be like everyone else, God forbid to stand out, so you need not be afraid to speak out. As for fashion … every taste is instilled by education, observation – look and learn from everyone around to the maximum. Trust your own vision and don’t be afraid to be different from others.
Natalia Osmann’s collection for Pollini will be available in Pollini boutiques and in the NO ONE chain in September.