Inna Zobova: "There's no such thing as too many angels"

15/03/2016

Exclusive interview with Inna Zobova, fashion model, designer of Innangelo silk scarves made in Paris / Parisian style / New accessory brand to know / Parisian style via www.fashionedbylove.co.uk
Inna Zobova is sitting in a cosy cafe sipping coffee and graciously nibbling on a scrumptious pastry that you could only get in Paris. With the sun streaming through the windows Inna looks like an angel with a halo of light gleaming above her head. I am meeting with the gorgeous top model, actress and Heart Fund ambassador to talk about Innangelo, Inna's brand of silk scarves that she's been keeping under wraps until now.

We talk and talk unable to stop, moving from the cafe to Inna's apartment where she introduces me to her gorgeous cat, Bruno Aveillan photography and, of course, the magical scarves that look like a mesmerising cloud of petals.

As we part out way and my emotions settle down, I can't help but feel privileged to be given an opportunity marking the birth of a beautiful and enchanting venture that can enhance lives in ways far beyond the ordinary.

I think it's been three years since we first met. Back then you were Inna, the top model, finishing art studies, planning a movie career, coaching girls as a Russian Top Model mentor... How did it all unfold for you?

Oh, yes. We made a movie called Z Joke written and directed by Aleksey Zalevsky. It was filmed in Ukraine with British production and received five nomination at London Filmmaker Festival including Best Film director and Best Music awards. Unfortunately, the screening plans had to be changed as the Russian-Ukrainian war broke out.

I've also went to London to complete two courses at St Martins and was approached by a publishing house with an offer to write an interview-based book about me.

Introducing Innangelo, a Parisian brand of silk scarves founded and designed by Inna Zobova, top model and now fashion designer / Exclusive interview for www.fashionedbylove.co.uk
Putting my film career on hold meant focusing on my other passions. I've been thinking of designing scarves for a while and finally took a plunge. We went to Como to find a factory. One of which, the House of Ratti, became my creative partner. It felt amazing. I am a perfectionist and only do things when I can achieve the highest quality. Ratti, with their long history of producing silk scarves for Hermes, Salvatore Ferragamo and Louis Vuitton was the perfect answer.

I am a perfectionist and only do things when I can achieve the highest quality.

We created a pre-collection of five scarves to test the waters. It turned out really well and became a starting point for my collection of twenty designs ready to be presented to the public in April, but had to postpone the launch until June due to the recent terrorist attacks in Paris and the state of emergency that followed. Metaphorically speaking, this collection was my baby and I didn't want to expose it to the world during the darkest times.

Introducing Innangelo, a Parisian brand of silk scarves founded and designed by Inna Zobova, top model and now fashion designer / Exclusive interview for www.fashionedbylove.co.uk
It was a very difficult year for everyone, a mixture of positive and negative, a real roller-coaster, but I believe that we must think positive no matter what and remember to live our lives because hope is the only way to get through the hard times without falling into depression or giving into fear. 

Launching my collection will be about diluting the current situation and negative emotions we are surrounded with. it has nothing to do with fame or appreciation of my work, but more with finally having an aura of positivity rising above us like sunshine, making everyone smile, not with a fake smile, but the sincere one that comes from the heart. 

Ah, the topic of hearts! Whenever I hear the word I think of you straight away...
Yes, I wanted the idea of the brand to be based on my story. Even the name, Innangelo, stems from the Heart Angel and reflects my work with The Heart Fund. It is my dream to have a collection that can help to save lives. Although I haven't dealt with the commercial and marketing side of things yet, I hope that the brand will allow me to support the charity as 5% of each sale will go to the Fund.

I know neither me nor my husband are heart surgeons, but we do what we can do to support the cause. I know there are a lot of people like me, born with a heart condition, who can be saved, especially with modern techniques and knowledge. Right now, the Fund is pursuing the idea of mobile hospitals that can travel around Africa with diagnostic equipment and a laboratory. We have a long list of names waiting for their operations, so this is incredibly important to me. 

Truth to be told, I haven't talked about the subject of my surgery for over twenty years, not until David Luu, the doctor, approached me with an idea of the Heart Fund. It's been a process of re-discovery, emotional, and not always easy. It helped me realise that this is what makes me real.

It's been a process of re-discovery. It helped me realise that this is what makes me real. 

So, in a way, fashion, its creative side, saves the world, lives and keeps us sane....
Oh, absolutely! Fashion really does give us something positive, something that enables us to deal with anything. Recently I took part in Alexis Mabille Couture show. He gathered so many beautiful girls from the 1990s. It felt like a reunion, a celebration.

Exclusive interview with Inna Zobova, fashion model, designer of Innangelo silk scarves made in Paris / Parisian style / New accessory brand to know / Parisian style via www.fashionedbylove.co.uk
Funnily enough, one of the photographers I met there reminded me of the times in the 1990s when the press wasn't allowed backstage and how I used my camera to snap a few shots here and there, which, in a way, makes me one of the first people fortunate enough to photograph that unseen world.

I've collected so many of those photos! For a while I wasn't sure what to do with them. They weren't just about the clothes, but my trips, places, details, many - pretty abstract. I could say it was photography, not just the fashion photography. Then there came a moment when my husband  (NB: Bruno Aveillan, an extraordinary filmmaker, photographer and artist) said: "Look, why don't we use those images and design scarves?"

So the initial idea came from him?
Well, we though of an exhibition first, but he noticed that my photographs were often shot in a square format, le carre, which would look beautiful when transferred onto silk.

When I was only starting, the factory team told me that the predominant background of my collection was black. I think it had something to do with the drama of black and drama in art. Perhaps, my mind also reacted to the social situation just like music would reflect the state of mind of a certain composer, for example take Shostakovich or Chopin - two totally different emotional dominants.

Exclusive interview with Inna Zobova, fashion model, designer of Innangelo silk scarves made in Paris / Parisian style / New accessory brand to know / Parisian style via www.fashionedbylove.co.uk
The names of my scarves are inspired by either films or music. The violet one that ended up on a cover of Zinc magazine is called "Rain" as in "Purple Rain". An orange version is "Orange mecanique", a Stanley Kubric's film. So everything has a meaning.

The project is only worth its while when the artist  can express himself fully, without limits.

We wanted to have a brand that would be a combination of art and fashion, so in addition to my collection every year we will also collaborate with an artist. He will have a carte blanche to design three scarves following his own aesthetics and vision. I feel that the project is only worth its while when the artist is allowed to express himself fully, without limits whether he is passionate about ecology, politic or future - anything... 

Exclusive interview with Inna Zobova, fashion model, designer of Innangelo silk scarves made in Paris / Parisian style / New accessory brand to know / Parisian style via www.fashionedbylove.co.uk
For our first project we worked with Richard Texier, a sculptor and painter known for his Tours de la Rochelle's Red Bear installation, the sculpture that makes you think of the ecological state of our world as if asking when enough is enough.

The wonderful thing about art is that it allows every person perceive it in their own way. As for our first collaboration, each scarf, just like all Texier's works, will carry the words "Stars" and "Earth" as a hidden message.

What comes first during the creative process - music, cinema or the idea of a certain scarf itself?
I think it happens simultaneously. When I know "this is it", the name comes up straight away.

Exclusive interview with Inna Zobova, fashion model, designer of Innangelo silk scarves made in Paris / Parisian style / New accessory brand to know / Parisian style via www.fashionedbylove.co.uk
With such a strong creative background, how do you edit the collection from the initial designs to the twenty pieces you print? 
I let myself embrace it fully and ask the others afterwards... Say, I spend two or six months working on 50-60 visuals. Then comes the moment when I seek an opinion and turn to my husband because, whilst I trust my own vision, I need to make sure that the chosen designs will resonate with other people, too. Besides, I really value his thoughts.

The scarves really are like paintings. It's a kind of visual poetry.

For me, Innangelo collection is definitely more about art than just fashion. Every scarf is like a painting because unlike a dress that will always be seeing as clothing first and foremost, the scarves are about emotions and, if I may say so, transformations, literally and metaphorically... 
I have always had a desire to create something beautiful. I think it comes from an early childhood when we begin dressing our dolls or decorating a Christmas tree. All these actions and moments transform our world and feelings. And I yearn for it.

Exclusive interview with Inna Zobova, fashion model, designer of Innangelo silk scarves made in Paris / Parisian style / New accessory brand to know / Parisian style via www.fashionedbylove.co.uk
For me, the scarves really are like paintings. I get the same emotions from them. It's a kind of visual poetry.

And you know, even the silk itself has something enchanting about it. It's cold and hot, depending on what side you touch. It can caress or burn you. It is also like liquid, which can be a problem as it constantly moves around and slides.

Exclusive interview with Inna Zobova, fashion model, designer of Innangelo silk scarves made in Paris / Parisian style / New accessory brand to know / Parisian style via www.fashionedbylove.co.uk
Now you've mentioned it... All your scarves are silk, but the texture is different?
I have a few made of plisse crepe de chine, they are light and transparent. Pareo is made of crepe georgette. And the square scarves, les carres, are twill silk.

How long did it take you to get from the initial idea to holding an actual scarf?
A while... I had to find the right person able to transfer an image onto silk. Yes, there are a lot of factories, but most designs begin with a drawing, not a photo, because this is what the technology allows. Nobody ever did it from a photograph. For example, there are very few machines that can print the colour grading of a photo.

Normally the pattern is layered as a template, colour after colour. In my case we end up with fifty shades of grey in a square centimetre of fabric. This kind of design challenge requires certain silks and different equipment to achieve the soft-to-the-touch, cocooning and glistening effect I am after.  It took us three months just to get the right recipe. It was yet another task, but this effect is what makes my scarves unique.

Exclusive interview with Inna Zobova, fashion model, designer of Innangelo silk scarves made in Paris / Parisian style / New accessory brand to know / Parisian style via www.fashionedbylove.co.uk
I am fortunate that the factory had patience and time to work with me in order to create a product and achieve the quality I envisioned.  I still remember seeing the rolls of white silk fabric in a middle of a room, ready to become something else, like a blank sheet of paper. I felt like a kid in a sweet shop!

And you had to limit yourself to twenty pieces... Sounds like yet another challenge to me...
Of course, yes, certainly. But I had to think of the production costs. It takes 14 hours to print each scarf and then finish it by hand. Besides, even through each print had to be limited to twenty pieces, it was already something to have a collection of twenty pieces.

Introducing Innangelo, a Parisian brand of silk scarves founded and designed by Inna Zobova, top model and now fashion designer / Exclusive interview for www.fashionedbylove.co.uk
Could you tell me more about the finishing process? It sounds like something Hermes does, too.
All of the scarves are hand-finished in Italy by little old ladies who have this incredible skill of hand-rolling. They roll a little fabric around a pin, roll the pin while stretching and stitching the silk and then move along the edge turning it outward (NB: the Italian type of hand-rolling) over and over again until they finish the entire scarf. The speed they do it with is mind-blowing. I actually found myself watching the for half an hour, stunned. In thirty minutes they managed to finish four scarves! I did try to do it myself, but alas (laughs)...

Introducing Innangelo, a Parisian brand of silk scarves founded and designed by Inna Zobova, top model and now fashion designer / Exclusive interview for www.fashionedbylove.co.uk
Have you thought about the packaging?
Oh, yes, I have a few ideas. It will be something minimalistic. A square box with a booklet about the brand and the journey of my scarves. Visually, the box will be very simple, but I am not going to tell you what it will be like inside just yet - it'll have an element of surprise, but for now it's a secret.

How do you wear your scarves? Do you have a favourite way to tie them?
I love the pareo one, made of crepe, and wear it all the time - they look so beautiful flying in the air. And whenever I go to Russia, I  take a pareo because I can tie it around my head on a cold day, or use it as a shelter during a flight, hide underneath and look through the fabric as if I am inside a kaleidoscope. 

Exclusive interview with Inna Zobova, fashion model, designer of Innangelo silk scarves made in Paris / Parisian style / New accessory brand to know / Parisian style via www.fashionedbylove.co.uk
Once I wanted to stop by the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow. It was a very hot day, so I needed to cover up. I wrapped one of the ends of the scarf around me to create a skirt, and used the other end to cover my head. It was so beautiful and appropriate. Made me feel like a real designer, too.

It's almost as if you can touch a dream, a feeling you get when giving birth to a child.

Do you remember your very first Innangelo scarf?
Yes, it was the Black Man. Its name was inspired by Pushkin's Mozart & Salieri, The Little Tragedies. A very special scarf and the one I referred to when talking about "fifty shades of grey" earlier.



And also the one worn by Mylene Farmer in the Stolen Car video?
Yes, it's true. I think I had a chance to do it because there are people in my life who sincerely like Innangelo project, from Monsieur Texier who agreed to collaborate with me to Mylene who chose the scarf and wanted to wear it in the video.

You know that video became No.1 in the US charts. Until now Mylene never presented her music in America because she's always been compared to Madonna as her direct competitor. She is dabbed "European Madonna" in France. This was the first time her company decided to launch a video in America and over the last two weeks it slowly, but surely, went to number one.

Of course, my role here is minimal, but it makes me so happy seeing her wearing my scarf!

Exclusive interview with Inna Zobova, fashion model, designer of Innangelo silk scarves made in Paris / Parisian style / New accessory brand to know / Parisian style via www.fashionedbylove.co.uk
Honestly, it makes me smile when Inna Zobova, a star in her own rights, a top model who wore Yves Saint Laurent, Dior and Ferre, gets excited like a happy little kid when her scarf is worn by another star...
But you know, it's different to wear somebody else and seeing somebody you respect wearing one of your own creations. It's almost as if I can touch a dream, a feeling you get when you give birth to a child. That's the only way to describe it. 

There's no such thing as too many angels.

I think when women finally get a chance to have an Innangelo scarf of their own, it will be yet another proof of making it as a designer... Just wait and see.
I really hope so. Art or fashion nobody is interested in becomes a sort of a death sentence. 

Where would you like to see the brand in, say, 5 or 10 years? Thinking of Paris and scarves instantly resonates with Hermes that began as a small business and achieved an incredible level of success... Do you have an ultimate dream for Innangelo?
Oh, I love Hermes. I wish I could achieve their level in, say thirty years because I deeply admire their aesthetics and quality. Another important factor is that they are not a part of fast fashion, not trying to win a popularity contest or go global to please everyone. 

I don't see myself as somebody who would ever try to compete with Hermes. I am me and my scarves are very different from theirs. But just like them, I am not planning to go global either - I imagine people working hard in often questionable conditions, making all those fast fashions, sewing them, cutting them, packing them, whatever the brand. Seeing these clothes unloved, discarded and destroyed at the end of the season is heartbreaking. I don't want this for my brand.

Exclusive interview with Inna Zobova, fashion model, designer of Innangelo silk scarves made in Paris / Parisian style / New accessory brand to know / Parisian style via www.fashionedbylove.co.uk
I understand that we live in different times and I feel that there was a lot more class and culture in the way things were done in the past. I can't say I am nostalgic, it's just different. But I do believe that regardless of the time we live in, our soul still seeks beauty and fantasy. 

I want to see my scarves floating in the air. I want a woman to be enchanted by them, wear them over a simple t-shirt. I want her date to say: "Darling, you are an angel in this scarf!" And you know what? There is no such thing as too many angels.

Exclusive interview with Inna Zobova, fashion model, designer of Innangelo silk scarves made in Paris / Parisian style / New accessory brand to know / Parisian style via www.fashionedbylove.co.uk
Photo source: photography by Bruno Aveillan for Innangelo & L'Oreal Paris featuring Natasha Poly, c/o Inna Zobova & Bruno Aveillan, photo of Richard Texier via Richard Texier World

7 comments:

  1. Dear Fashionedbylove,

    I am deeply touched by your article and your writing skills.

    infinite love and thank you very much,


    Inna zobova@rosabelleville

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  2. Oh my goodness, these scarves look to lovely to even be real - which can only be a sign of good things! Inna is truly such a shining light, thank-you for sharing the moments you spent with her with all of us :)
    xox,
    Cee

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  3. Gorgeous scarves! Visual poetry is a beautiful way to describe them :)

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  4. what a great interview. those have to be some of the most gorgeous scarves i've ever seen!!

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  5. SO inspired by your post, Natalia!
    And of cause by these dreamy,delight and absolutely adorable creations of Inna Zobova!!!
    Какая прекрасная мечта, сбывающаяся и сбывшаяся для Инны Зобовой.....
    До глубины души тронуло Ваше интервью, Наташенька, спасибо:)))
    Инна- талантливая модель и по настоящему талантливый дизайнер своей мечты- шёлковых шарфов.....
    Я когда перечитывала Ваше интервью, было полное ощущение присутствия рядом, восхитительный пост!!!

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  6. Stunning scarves ! Congrats Innangelo !

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