interview by INGRID KIM

In this article:
August 16, 2018

Within the “Golden Triangle” of St. Petersburg – the hub of the city’s most famous attractions, restaurants, and shops – is an island of luxury and fashion known as the “Passage.” It is the pearl of the Nevsky Prospekt; it is always crowded, and the multilingual speech of customers does not cease between the shop windows. It was here that the official fashion boutique of Israeli designer Michal Negrin recently opened – a brand that breaks many of the underlying ideas of modern fashion. This is the intriguing reason that led us to speak with the owner of the boutique, Elvira Basko.

INGRID KIM: Tell us, how was the idea of opening a fashion boutique born?

ELVIRA BASKO: It was an emotional impulse, just an instant, but I felt a very strong desire. My sister and I were driving, and I said that I want my own store with fashionable clothes. Apparently, strong desires can truly by realized, because in just a short year I managed to realize my biggest dream.

IK: And why Michal Negrin?

EB: Here, too, there is a prehistory. In 2008, my son received a very serious diagnosis, and after many tests and examinations we went to Israel for treatment. At first, all my thoughts were about my son, and it was difficult to orient in a foreign country where we did not know anyone. Fortunately, the operation was a success, and I was not even on cloud nine, but on cloud twelve of happiness. Here my eyes began to see the surroundings, and at the airport waiting for our flight home, I noticed a beautiful woman in a gorgeous dress. I immediately asked what brand the dress was, and she told me that it was created by the famous Israeli designer Michal Negrin. On my next visit to Israel, I went on a quest to find her boutique. My enthusiasm when I found it is difficult to describe in words – for the first time in my life I quite literally bought half of the store. But the miracles did not end here: It’s not empty words when people say that Michal Negrin’s dresses bring good luck in love. Soon after I became involved in a passionate romance beyond my wildest dreams. Soon we were married! “Well,” I thought, “these fabulous dresses by Michal Negrin gave me a fairy tale! I need to share this with all the women of my vast Motherland.” So a boutique was born in St. Petersburg – on a wave of happiness, desire and hope.

IK: What difficulties did you encounter when opening a mono-boutique?

EB: There were certain difficulties, of course, but no more than those faced by any entrepreneur who decided to engage in a new type of activity. However, they were not important. The fact is that I wanted to open a boutique in Passage on Nevsky more than anything. I remember this dazzling gallery from my early childhood, when we came here with my mother, and I took delight in seeing endless showcases filled with unfamiliar, beautiful things. I still can not forget this feeling. And I decided – my fairy tale is a fairy tale after all, and so it should have a fitting frame. In the heart of the splendid St. Petersburg, where both locals and guests love to meet, shop, and relax, I opened the boutique.

IK: The dominant style of Michal Negrin is rococo, which they rarely stray from. What do you think is the reason for such constancy?

EB: The style of rococo itself refers to the courtly and majestic era of Louis XV. The atmosphere of that time is full of sensuality and coquetry, femininity and elegance. The Rococo Age is romantic, a worship of grace and youth, a worship of the eternal beauty of pure love. All of this is missing in today’s pragmatic times. It seems that the success of the brand in many ways depends on this.

IK: The Collections of Michal Negrin elicit surprise with the materials that they use. Where does the designer acquire them?

EB: Fabrics for the collections are ordered from a designer in Italy, but what they bring is essentially a half-finished product. The true uniqueness of the fabric is found after it is manually applied to the pattern, which Michal Negrin develops individually for each model. Therefore, in his collections, you will never find two similar dresses.

IK: How do you correctly to combine these clothes with ornaments and accessories? Are there any rules?

EB: There are no special rules. The recommendations we make here are the same as everywhere else: to avoid mistakes in the choice of jewelry, you need to pay attention to three main aspects:

– the advantages and disadvantages of your figure and face;

– the situation for which you choose clothes;

– the clothes that you eventually choose.

All these three components together always lead to a good and even brilliant result.

IK: Do you like to visit fashion weeks in Paris, Milan?

EB: Of course, this is my world. For a woman who is charmed by beauty, elegance and perfection, and who is a representative of the Fashion industry, it is important to keep her hand on the pulse and be aware of the latest trends.

IK: Is it possible to visit and go into the designer’s factory?

EB: In order to get into the factory Michal Negrin, you just need to leave an application at Nevskoy Avenue Number 48 on the first floor. And in gratitude to everyone that visits the factory we gift them a trip to Jerusalem.

IK: What is fashion for you? Especially now that you yourself are a part of this world?

EB: As Bernard Shaw said: “Fashion is nothing but an induced epidemic.” I absolutely agree with him.

IK: What traits do your customers, specifically, have?

EB: This is a woman who wants to be beautiful and desirable. There are no other criteria. And why should there be?