Linda Farrow just launched the new Spring / Summer 2017 capsule collection with Nicole Warne, Elena Perminova, Leaf Greener and Negin Mirsalehi. For the first time ever, these four digital influencers are reunited in an exclusive eyewear collaboration, brought to life in imagery by world renowned photographer Mariano Vivanco. In our everlasting quest of connecting VELVET with the regions of the world and our recent venture into Russia, we bring you an exclusive interview with the Russian IT-girl Elena Perminova. Elena is a mother, model, charity worker with an impressive 1.3 million Instagram followers, who follow her unique style as she travels the world. The wife of Alexander Lebedev, owner of The Independent and London Evening Standard newspapers, created a pair of frames for Linda Farrow this season. Read on for your exclusive look into this fabulous collaboration.
How did you become involved with Linda Farrow?
I have always loved sunglasses. I think they can go with any outfit whether you are on the beaches of Formentera or in the middle of no where in Botswana. So for me collaborating with such an amazing high fashion brand is an ideal fit.
What made you decide to set up your Instagram account?
As a model I have always loved and been interested in the fashion world. I first started my personal account to showcase my love of fashion, but, also the love I have for my children. When I started SOS By Lena Perminova it was to sell off some of the pieces and donate money to charity.
Your husband Alexander Lebedev is owner of The Independent and London Evening Standard newspapers, does he give you advice on your social media platform?
My husband has always been incredibly supportive from the day we met. We share a lot of things and support each other in many ways, but, professionally we are pretty independent
Can you remember how it felt when you reached your one million-plus Instagram followers?
When I started on Instagram it was simply a way to document and take inspiration from people in the industry. I’m thrilled it’s grown to such a significant size and I’m honored that so many people are interested in what I do.
Did you always love fashion, when growing up in Siberia?
I have been interested in fashion and beauty since the age of nine when I started to realize that my style was different from other children. During that time, my parents didn’t have enough money for designer denim, so I would glue on rhinestones to my old jeans and make my own style of clothing!
Can you remember your first fashion splurge?
I remember my first trip to New York with Alexander. I remember him telling me to go to Bergdorf and buy something that I liked. When I arrived I couldn’t believe how much choice I had, I was overwhelmed. So I just bought some jeans and wore his hooded sweatshirt and his Stephen Webster cross. As I walked around New York, I saw people looking at me and it was at that point I understood what I wanted and how what I was wearing was best for New York.
Where do you get your ideas from?
I am very lucky to be able to travel all over the world. I get to see the most inspiring designers showcase their collections in fashion shows, so I guess that is where I get my ideas from, as well as other countries that I travel to.
Who of your peers do you admire?
I have couple of amazing people that I look up to. One of them is Giambattista Valli. His collections are both haute couture and ready to wear, which I love. A women who I also truly admire is Miroslava Duma. She’s an amazing women who has achieved so much at such a young age; having started her own digital company I find fascinating and so interesting how she has managed to fuse together fashion and technology, truly amazing. Mira and I are very close and we have worked closely in the past on many fashion collaborations.
You travel the international shows, do you have a favourite fashion city?
It’s so difficult to choose, for fashion I love Paris, but as an all-round offering London has to be my favourite.
Couture or ready-to-wear?
I prefer ready-to-wear. In the past in Siberia, fashion was heavily involved with high-end luxury labels and how much you spend on an outfit, I never liked that. For me, fashion has always been a way of expressing oneself whether it be sequins in Siberia or haute couture. When I was a child, all the other girls wanted to be a princess at Christmas, not me… At that point I realized that it’s so important to have a personality, and not be afraid to be different, otherwise you will be lost in the crowd.
Where do you start when putting an outfit together?
I always start with the day I have planned ahead and start with the core items, whether it be a dress or trousers and top. I don’t wear a lot of make-up however I love to accessorise so I make sure I always have a piece of jewellery with any outfit.
What is it you enjoy most about working with brands?
To be honest, I love the opportunity to be creative and collaborate with some really inspirational and talented people, without the stress of running a full business.
Do you go off things easily?
No, I don’t feel like I go off things, but I am always looking for the latest thing. I like to see what is new out in the world whether it be fashion or beauty.
What is currently your favorite piece of clothing or accessory?
It would have to be my new sunglasses with Linda Farrow.
Your fitness regimes have been well documented. What advice can you give when it comes to achieving an enviable body?
After I gave birth to my daughter I was very determined to reach my pre-pregnancy body. So, I would say its self-motivation and the strive to achieve a goal that you have set yourself. It was hard to go back to a workout routine with three children to look after, however, I would also advise to plan your days to ensure you include some time for yourself.
How would you describe your look, and has anyone ever summed-up your personal style perfectly?
I wouldn’t say that my style or personality can be summed up perfectly, as I have many components that makes me the person that I am. People say that I can pull off outfits that no one else could dream up, be it a plaid shorts suit with an oversize fur-trimmed houndstooth coat by Tommy Hilfger, or head-to-toe geometrics by Valli. I often pair things together which people wouldn’t think would work such as a casual Kenzo tiger sweatshirt with a minuscule cutoff Levi’s. I think people are always surprised by me and I love to keep them guessing.
Do you have a career highlight to date?
I have achieved a lot, but I must say that my greatest achievement is my children.
You have done charity work, is helping others as raising awareness something that is close to your heart?
Yes certainly. I was not born into a rich family, so for me to able to give back to those who are most in need is very important to me. Hence why I set up SOS by Lena Perminova, where all the money made out of the auctions is 100% given back to charities who are doing amazing work to help a lot of people.
What is next for Elena Perminova?
I have a lot planned for next year, more collaborations with designers and other new projects that will occur throughout the year.