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Juggling Fashion Design with Homework

Published: September 18, 2007 (Issue # 1307)



  • At just 15, Kira Plastinina is the chief designer for the label owned by her father.
    Photo: Igor Tabakov / The St. Petersburg Times

MOSCOW — Kira Plastinina wants to be taken seriously.

By many measures, she already has a highly successful career. She is the chief designer for a rapidly growing chain of clothing stores aimed at teenage girls. The first Kira Plastinina shop opened at Moscow’s Yevropeisky mall in February, and the chain now has 28 locations throughout Russia, with a dozen more slated to open by the end of the year.

The problem, perhaps, is that Plastinina is only 15 years old.

Many have grumbled that Plastinina — who is touted as the world’s youngest fashion designer — only made it because her father, Sergei Plastinin, is the millionaire co-founder of Wimm-Bill-Dann, Russia’s largest dairy and juice producer.

In a recent interview at her company’s headquarters in Moscow, Plastinina admitted that her father’s wealth had made the stores possible, but stressed that she wasn’t just a rich girl looking for attention.

“It’s not like I just went to my dad and said, ‘I want a store,’ and he gave me a store with my name on it and I don’t do anything,” said Plastinina, who was dressed in a pink and purple top.

“I’m always coming to work, and my thoughts are constantly absorbed in work. I always think about work, day and night. Sometimes I even draw designs in school.”

Plastinina, a 10th-grader at the Anglo-American School in Moscow, said she hoped to continue her studies at the Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, a London institution that has produced such fashion gurus as John Galliano and Hedi Slimane, who both led divisions of Christian Dior before starting their own labels.

Some contributors to Internet forums have suggested that Plastinina could follow the path of Ksenia Sobchak or the singer Alsu, whose powerful fathers gave them a springboard into pop-culture stardom.

But Plastinina firmly rejected that idea. “Well, I can’t sing, so I won’t become a singer,” she said with a laugh. “But really, no, I want people to perceive me as a designer, and not just as a creative person who drifts from one thing to another.”

Still, Plastinina is poised to become a familiar face in Russian television. This season, she is the official designer for “Star Factory,” the Channel One talent show where would-be pop singers compete for stardom, much like in the popular U.S. show “American Idol.”

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