I’m sitting at the table of one Milan’s most prestigious hotels, the Carlton Baglioni, and it’s ten o’clock in the morning; I’m very excited, as I’m about to interview a veritable institute of Russian, Italian, and international fashion: Mila Anufrieva.
She arrives with her usual effortless grace, in a very simple, long black dress, paired with a red leather Rubeus handbag. She shakes my hand and I’m immediately drawn to the ring on her finger, part of Chantecler’s “Paillettes” collection, a waterfall of lacquered petals and pink gold harmoniously jingle with each movement of her wrist, along with a necklace comprised of little jagged charms, elegant yet at the same time clean and refined, as is her usual style.
The interview begins.
Mila is Russian, but more precisely, from Saint Petersburg; she comes from a family with a long and important history in the Venice of the North. She studies to become a teacher, following her mother’s wishes, but her secret dream was always to work in fashion.
A lover of fine taste and elegance ever since she was a little girl, Mila, during the “Soviet” period continues to be drawn to that compelling world of fashion that she had before only known through word of mouth.
At a very young age, she begins, almost for sport, to purchase designer clothing and accessories abroad, strictly Made in Italy, to then resell the items in her hometown.
Without knowing it, Mila was beginning to carve a niche for herself in that world she so passionately dreamed of.
In 1989 she opens her first boutique in Saint Petersburg, and the success that follows is so huge that high-caliber designers such as Valentino, Capucci, Fendi, Lanvin, Sergio Rossi, and Gilli ask her to invest in a larger more prestigious space. Shortly after, “Vanity” is opened inside St. Petersburg’s hotel par excellance, the Nevski Palace Hotel.
It was there in St. Petersburg that Mila has some of the world’s top models grace the catwalks of her shows, names such as Claudia Schiffer, Eva Erzigova, and Linda Evangelista, to name a few. Her parties and events are considered the most fashionable and Mila, or “Madame Vanity” as people liked to call her at the time, gets to know the real fashion world, the type of fashion that created new styles and that went beyond the mere laws of the market that before had only revolved around sales, costs, and earnings…The type of fashion that, unfortunately, is slowly fading today.
Mila is the first to bring not only ‘Made in Italy’ to Russia, but also Italy itself. She makes it possible for Russia, up until then closed off to all that was international, to open its doors to everything that represented Western culture: fashion, glamour, and that exclusivity that only the Italian savoir faire can portray. After a grave illness as well as opposition that caused the loss of the millionaire empire she created from the ground up, Mila is reborn, she comes back to life, stronger than ever.
The past years have changed her greatly, it would be strange to think otherwise, but at the same time this heavy past seems to no longer belong to her, seems to no longer be a part of her, or at least, to be only present in her as experience, as a baggage of life lived that has enriched her.
The Russian qualities that are reflected in Mila are in the strength of her character, in her no-nonsense approach that pushes her to expect the best from herself as well as from those around her; on the other hand, the sensibility for style, and that capacity to see beyond mere appearances (a thing which is fundamental in the world of fashion), that is certainly more of an Italian trait.
Mila doesn’t aspire towards emulating specific muses; her taste is closer to that of the Japanese style, where clean, simple lines are the foundation for everything. Mila feels that elegance is something that either belongs to you or doesn’t, elegance is in the gestures, in a look, you can see it in the way one walks, and at the same time it is closely connected to the culture of a person.
These days, for Mila, fashion is written with a capital F: it is made up of ideas, ingenuity, experimentation, and creativity. It is born from something deep within, something innate and natural, something that leans more towards simplicity, towards harmony in the look. She prefers to play with accessories, with color, and with those details that make all the difference.
Enamored of this country from the very beginning, of every beautiful thing that Italy has to offer, Mila fights in the front lines to bring emerging stylists to the foreground of the not easily navigated world of fashion. When asked if she considers herself an ambassador for Made in Italy, she answers that this is her greatest ambition, because Made in Italy was made to thrive.
“Luxury Lifestyle Atelier” is her comeback, her return to living life, it is not only a blog but a veritable platform with the goal of supplying individuals and companies with extremely high level consulting in the field of luxury and PR strategy.
It is in this that Mila’s expertise shines, in all that is luxury lifestyle, comprehending fashion, art, design, wellbeing, beauty and travel. Mila puts her know-how to use, her extensive experience in the industry and her vast network of contacts is key promoting the best of Made in Italy abroad.
Mila advises her ‘pupils’ to always be themselves, in every way, to show themselves for what they are, with their own unique personality, and not to be influenced by the strict rules of the trade. And when I ask her if there is anyone of her clients, above others, that has given her immense satisfaction, she tells me that she could never choose, because each one of them, from the first moment she meets them, is given a piece of her heart.
RUSSIAN VERSION READ HERE