It's not very often that new faces appear in the front row at fashion shows, so when a petite blond with Miu Miu eyeglasses occupied prime seats at the Milan and Paris collections last spring, veterans took note. They should have known: new luxury markets bring new editors into the fray, and the booming luxury-goods business in Russia has brought Evelina Khromtchenko, 35, to fashion's forefront. She's the clever editor in chief and creative director of the Russian edition of L'Officiel, a fashion magazine with 100,000 readers who can't get enough of Chanel, Dior and, lately, Ralph Lauren.
"It is the perfect moment for Ralph Lauren," Khromtchenko crows. "Russia is changing so much now. Ten years ago, it was the era of mistresses, and now it's the era of wives. Women are looking not only for sexy clothes but also to show themselves as the owners of their world." That shift can be seen in the newfound taste for more conservative clothing from the likes of Chanel and Ralph Lauren. In her own wardrobe, Khromtchenko hoards avant-garde items from designers such as Martin Margiela and Balenciaga and classics from Dior and YSL.
Born in Siberia, Khromtchenko moved to Moscow as a young girl and graduated from Moscow State University with a degree in journalism. At 17 she became the youngest broadcaster for Channel 1 radio and television and went on to write for Russian Cosmopolitan and Elle before forming her own p.r. company, which helped launch brands like Gucci and Valentino in Russia. Because of her TV and radio career, Khromtchenko has become famous in Russia. But she says that now, in addition to editing the magazine, she's just a talking head: "If someone wants to know about fashion or beauty, it's me that talks."
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