Russian top-models: Natalia Semanova


Natalia Semanova Elle Russia 1990s
Following yesterday’s post I’ve decided to dedicated a few stories to the Russian top-models because these girls created a completely new era when they became a part of the fashion world back in the 1990s and I really want you to learn more about them.

Natalia Semanova by Arthur Elgort in Vogue Russia 1999
I remember her vividly. A very young girl featured in a popular morning show that I often watched while getting ready for my univesity lectures.

Natalia Semanova Topmodel France 1995
That day a 10-minute interview with Vyacheslav Zaitsev, the most popular Russian fashion designer, was squeezed between an episode of ever-so-popular Twin Peaks and completely pointless beauty advice. After briefly speaking of his collections and perfume, Zaitsev introduced a young model who accompanied him. Her name was Natalia Semanova and she just won the most prestigious contest “Look of the year” hosted by Elite Model Agency.

Natalia Semanova in Guerlain campaign
The designer was particularly proud to announce the news because he was the one who discovered Natalia in 1992 when she came to his fashion house for a casting. Zaitsev saw something special in the 13-year old and she became one of his models. “She was perfect as if created by Botticelli,” – the designer said about Natalia in an interview.

Natalia Semanova
Natalia Semanova in YSL Opium campaign
The fashion world quickly fell in love with “Russian Cinderella”. Natalia was known as a true professional, a natural beauty who had grace of a princess, signature walk and was able to change her already unique look completely to suit an editorial.

Natalia Semanova Biotherm campaign
Designers and photographers adored her. When Gianfranco Ferrè found out that she was too young to be in his fashion show (she was only 14 and legal requirement was 16), he made sure that she sat in a front row next to Sophia Loren. Jean Paul Gaultier gave her one of the most beautiful gowns that he created especially for Natalia’s wedding. 

Natalia Semanova by Helmut Newton for Blumarine Fall/Winter 1999 campaign
atalia Semanova in Giorgio Armani campaign photographed by Peter Lindbergh
Helmut Newton thought of her as one of his favourite models and photographed Natalia for Blumarine campaign. In 1999 she also became a face of Yves Saint Laurent’s Opium and later – Giorgio Armani when she was shot by yet another legend, Peter Lindbergh for one of the most elegant Armani campaigns.

atalia Semanova in Giorgio Armani campaign photographed by Peter Lindbergh
She graced covers of Vogue, Elle, Marie Claire, Jalouse and D and starred in numerous campaigns that included Atelier Versace, Christian Dior, Lanvin, Valentino, George Rech, Biotherm, Guerlain, Swarowski, Saks Fifth Avenue and Galeries Lafayette and modelled for Alberta Ferretti, John Bartlett, Ralph Lauren, Diane Von Furstenberg, Giorgio Armani, Lolita Lempicka, Moschino, Givenchy, Gaultier, Valentino and John Galliano.

Natalia Semanova in Elle US September 2000 (photography: Andre Carrara)
In 2001 Natalia got married. Her husband was a handsome booker from the model agency. They live in Paris. Natalia is represented by Elite Paris.

Photo sources: Natalia Semanova in Elle Russia 1998, Natalia Semanova by Arthur Elgort in Vogue Russia 1999, Natalia Semanova in Topmodel France 1995, Natalia Semanova in Guerlain campaign, Natalia Semanova by Helmut Newton for Blumarine Fall/Winter 1999 campaign, ?, Natalia Semanova in Yves Saint Laurent Opium 1999 campaign, Natalia Semanova in Biotherm campaign, Natalia Semanova in Giorgio Armani campaign photographed by Peter Lindbergh, Natalia Semanova in Elle US September 2000 (photography: Andre Carrara)


  1. I couldn't be happier about your decision of sharing with us a few stories on Russian models. I think Russian women are the most beautiful in the world. (Romanians are not far behind either ;) ). Natalia is beautiful and I knew pretty much nothing about her. How gorgeous the second photo is!

  2. Thank you,dear LR for your post about russian models!

    I like the way,wich do you write...I can reading more and more from you;-)

    One photo with Natalya in Moscow's nostalgic and so beautiful!
    And HOW amazing she is on those ''Opium''cover: sexy,fatal,erresistable and just magical nice!!!

    Wish you inspirational,wonderful week ahead,


  3. You are so right, she has that chameleon skills to transmit different feelings: in the second image she is sweet and genuine and in the forth and opium campaign image, she is dark and has an intense look!

  4. thank you, so interesting to read this ... keep those posts coming girl!

  5. Honestly, it's not a name I recall vividly.... but I should have, because she's stunning and as you say a chameleon!
    Thanks for sharing!

  6. I love that you're doing this LittleRus! That face, her body--true Bottecelli perfection! And she has such mystery in her eyes too.

    xo Mary Jo

  7. I think I may have forgotten to input the code so my previous comment may be lost, but I wanted to say how gorgeous this model was/is...such a beautiful face and truly an amazing find! Love that you're profiling these Russian beauties LittleRus!

    xo Mary Jo

  8. Natalia is gorgeous!!! I remember her. Various designers used her for their product lines. She was something else. Thanks for showcasing her! :D

  9. I like so much the way you decide to show your vision in this site.

  10. She is a mother of two beautiful babies right now, Still married with the handsome guy Bentolila and lives with her family in Paris.