Masha Orlov Interview
Masha Orlov is the go-to girl for the mega-magazines and designers, in demand for her work as a stylist, consultant and editor. Masha uses her expert eye to paint a fashion picture. Her first industry primer was as assistant to the director of Self Service, Suzanne Koller. Masha is a serious clothing hoarder, with an apartment packed to the brim with treasures collected from around the world. Below she tells us about childhood tantrums, the best garment hunting grounds, and why she is about to become completely un-contactable.
Clementine Widdowson – de Pressigny: Can you tell me a bit about your background - what were you like growing up and what were you into?
Masha Orlov: I always had a fascination with art, color and texture, as well as astronomy. As a child I wanted to be an astronomer or an artist. Since I can remember, I always had a radical sense of style. For my brother's high school graduation, when I was eight years old, I wanted to wear a green, silk-taffeta sweetheart dress with my favorite blue cowboy boots. But my brother said I couldn't and so I cried sooo much, I tried getting out of going to his graduation altogether. Dressing up has always been a way to re-perceive reality for me.
CMWDP: How would you describe your own aesthetic to someone who has never met you?
MP: It’s spontaneous and full of my own personality. I wear glasses for seeing, and I have eight pairs that get worn in rotation- some, of course, are more preferred than others. Each pair of my glasses has its own character - and that’s just my glasses...
CMWDP: You originally studied fine art, what lead to the switch to fashion?
MP: Well, I had also studied fashion, philosophy, business, art history, and Russian and French languages and culture. I went to five universities. I have very diverse interests, and it just so happened that the last thing I was studying was fine art before I started a career in fashion. For me fashion, art, music and culture are deeply intertwined. Fashion just happened to be the most natural path as it has always been a passion of mine.
CMWD: Who inspires you on a day-to-day basis?
MP: My family, friends and co-workers/collaborators. I have managed to surround myself with inspirational people - from my clients, to my assistants to my acupuncturist and everyone else - the amazing conversations are endless.
CMWDP: What is your most treasured possession?
MP: My great-great-grandmother's Faberge ring from 1881.
CMWDP: Favourite designer?
MP: There are a number of them, for different reasons. For one, my friends Jeremy Scott, Zac Posen and ThreeASFOUR dominate my closet. As well as Comme des Garçons & Junya Watanabe, whom I don't know personally, but whose clothes I love to collect. And Christian Lacroix and Andre Walker have both been inspirations with whom I was lucky enough to work with, and whose pieces are also in my closet.
CMWDP: Dream person to work with?
MP: Steven Meisel for Italian Vogue
CMWDP: Do you have a current obsession - food/artist/colour/clothing/a person?
MP: My current main obsessions are raw, vegan, organic, chocolate macaroons from One Lucky Duck, and crystals from all around the world.
CMWDP: Are you a die-hard shopper? Do you go searching for pieces with a theme in mind or do you just wait to get inspired by something you stumble across?
MP: I am definitely a professional shopper, used to be die-hard, but at this point I have two storage units full of clothes, and my large apartment is more of a walk-in closet/library, so until I move into a space with a second bedroom for my clothes, or a ginormous walk-in closet, I need to curb my shopping. In general though, I just search for cool and interesting pieces with no exact theme in mind.
CMWDP: What is your favourite city to shop in?
MP: That's hard! Each city has its own treasures. My favorite flea markets are Clignancourt in Paris, Lagunilla in Mexico City and Portobello in London. Also, vintage and thrifting in Florida and California are usually great for special finds.
CMWDP: What is the best part about your job?
MP: All the interesting people I get to work with and all the cool places I get to go.
CMWDP: Being a stylist is by nature such a collaborative job. Is this important to you in your choice of profession – I mean do you work best when bouncing ideas off others?
MP: I love collaborating with people- it excites me more than doing things on my own. I love getting input and different points of view from people I admire. I learn a lot when working with other people. On the other hand, when I do things on my own, I do learn a lot from being solitary and introspective as well.
CMWDP: What has been your favourite collaborative effort so far?
MP: I would have to say it was styling and casting for artist Cyprien Gaillard's art film "Cities of Gold and Mirrors" in Mexico, because it was very different from most projects I work on. That being said, I love collaborating with all the people with whom I have been working with for years: Jeremy Scott on his shows and sometimes editorials, with him taking the photos; Olivier Zahm on Purple Fashion Magazine; and most recently working again with Christopher Niquet, the new Fashion Director of L’Officiel Hommes and before that when he was at Mixte.
CMWDP: So you’re about to go somewhere without electricity – what’s the plan?
MP: I’m going to an eco-farm with no electricity because I can't ever manage to completely take time off when there is Internet around- I always end up answering emails and organizing my next projects. This will be my first true attempt to disconnect - to just do yoga, swim and read with no clue what is happening in my normal reality.
Clementine Widdowson - de Pressigny