Alisa Tolkacheva

Alisa Tolkacheva

Country: Russia

Biography of Alisa Tolkacheva

Alisa Tolkacheva is an elite designer known for her exclusive shows attended by selected guests, friends, and clients. She has gained recognition in the press through endorsements from popular Russian celebrities such as Angelika Varum, Larisa Dolina, Tatiana Bulanova, Valery Leontiev, Mikhail Shufutinsky, Aziza, and many others. Although Alisa Tolkacheva does not publicize her work, she is open to discussing her collections, life, childbirth, and her beloved partner.

In the fashion circles of Moscow, Alisa Tolkacheva is known as the designer who dresses the stars of the music industry. The unforgettable sundress worn by Angelika Varum in black and white vertical stripes, the transformation of Tatyana Bulanova's widow image, and the outfits that enhanced Larisa Dolina's new love and figure are still fresh in people's memories. Alisa was the initiator of many changes that occurred in the wardrobes of famous artists. However, seven years ago, no one in Moscow knew about her. Originally from Kiev, Alisa had always aspired to become a designer from an early age. She reminisces, "There used to be a show on GosTeleRadio called 'Theater on the Microphone.' I loved it so much. I found immense pleasure in drawing illustrations for the plays and imagining the appearance of the characters and actors." Her mother recognized her daughter's talents and set up a workspace for her at home. Alisa later graduated from the Art Institute in Kiev, specializing in graphics, and started working as an artist-designer at the "Kievlyanka" knitting factory, which collaborated with Canadian, Austrian, Italian, and German companies. In 1994, Alisa moved from Kiev to Moscow, a decision she does not like to dwell on as journalists constantly pester her with questions about her "relocation." Alisa came to Moscow back then to be with her fiancé, who tragically passed away. "I came for a month, but ended up staying for seven years," she sadly smiles.

The city did not immediately reward the young woman with lucrative orders. Six months after her move, Alisa found herself without money and sought support from a fellow Ukrainian, Boris Krasnov. "You must earn your own bread! If you want to achieve something, you must swallow as much dirt as I have in this city!" responded Krasnov to her request for money. "On that day, I had just finished washing my undergarments and hung them on the balcony to dry," Alisa recalls. "I didn't have money for clothespins, and the wind blew away all my underwear. I told him, 'Borya, I have nothing left, even my underwear flew away!' and he replied, 'If you can't earn it, leave and go back where you came from!'" However, Alisa Tolkacheva stayed in Moscow. Now, she has a creative workshop, where her faithful friend Anna Isaeva helps her manage it, a son Vladik, a beloved partner, and a roster of celebrity clients. More than 25 successful artists trust Alisa with their stage image, including Mikhail Shufutinsky, Valery Leontiev, Irina Saltykova, Elena Zosimova, Natalya Senchukova, Alena Apina, Vika Tsyganova, Katya Lel, and Natalya Lagoda. As an image-maker designer, Alisa Tolkacheva dresses them from head to toe, creating dresses, shoes, accessories, hairstyles, and makeup. While working with demanding stars, Alisa is quite authoritative. "I am like a doctor," she says. "If you come to me with a problem, I prescribe a comprehensive treatment. And if there are disagreements about what is necessary and what I envision, then it's self-treatment in the studio!"

In addition to her work on stage costumes, Alisa also releases independent collections. In 1998, she made her debut at the Moscow High Fashion Week with the collection "Basic Instinct" and became the "discovery of the year." Recently, Alisa presented her new collection "Wild Swans" to a select group of friends and clients. This is where our conversation began. When asked whether her collection is closer to pret-a-porter or haute couture, she responds that she is unsure if it can be considered haute couture since she has not been officially recognized by the Paris Federation of High Fashion. However, considering that all the pieces in her collection are unique and no fabric texture is repeated in any model, "Wild Swans" is closer to couture. Her heroine is described as provocative, extremely sensual, but not vulgar, pushing the boundaries without crossing into tastelessness. Alisa herself does not wear the designs she creates. For her, the runway is primarily a stage. The boldness of her collections represents another side of her personality, just like Angelika is her libido. Angelika Varum was Alisa's first client, who ordered a costume from her without even looking at the sketches, simply placing her trust in an unknown girl. When it comes to details, Alisa meticulously works on each model, from the stitches to the buttons. She would search all over Moscow and even in Paris for the right accessories. The color palette of "Wild Swans" is calm and includes shades of dry nettle, wet clay, sand, and withered grass. Comparing it with her 1998 collection "Basic Instinct," one can see the transformation in her style from aggressiveness to romanticism. Alisa explains that this collection is inspired by early spring when the snow has melted, but the vibrant colors have not yet emerged. Therefore, earthy colors were chosen. She adds, "I have also changed. The female image in my collections reflects the stages of my love. It encompasses the color palette, form, and details. They are the codes of my soul. Currently, it represents reconciliation."

Alisa reflects on her journey to become a designer and describes it as a battle. She reveals that the fashion industry has formed an exclusive club, and it is incredibly difficult for an outsider, especially a woman, to break through. However, Alisa believes that a female designer understands and appreciates certain female secrets and complexes while creating her models. One advantage of Moscow is that one can find their niche without being pressured. Alisa says, "You don't have an inferiority complex here." When asked if she would consider creating a men's collection, Alisa mentions that she already had a similar experience with the collection "White Rabbit." However, she finds it challenging due to the peculiarities of the male psychology. She adds, "A woman can dive into romance, but it would be too sentimental for men." Alisa has an ideal man in mind - someone who is reliable, not talkative, and possesses intelligence. She prefers men who are skinny and subtle, rather than muscular. When it comes to her partner's perspective on fashion, she reveals that he does not take it seriously, just like her mother. He considers it as her hobby. She hopes that the fashion situation in Russia will change one day. Instead of mere spectators at fashion shows, she believes that they need professional journalists who write about fashion and buyers. She envisions a fashion business rather than a show.

When asked about Russian designers she admires, Alisa immediately mentions Igor Chapurin. She describes his work as glamorous and expresses genuine compliments about his sense of color.