In 1991 at 21 years old, I boarded a plane from Kharkov, Ukraine to the USA – New York City! I was completely unaware of what was to come, I had no fears, and only pure excitement of a new beginning! And boy, did that kind of thinking bring in incredible joys and successes!
So here’s a blog post more about me, Natalia. I’m a single mother with two wonderful kids and the three of us (me, Molly, and Nicholas) are a team with big dreams that we are working towards! But I’ll share more about my past in this post.
Back in Ukraine, I had a formal college education in finances, but I come from a family of tailors! So even though I finished college in finance, I was destined to continue my path as a tailor since I began practicing my skills as a tailor from the age of thirteen! So when I arrived in New York City, barely speaking English, before you knew it I was getting married and soon enough I landed a job on Madison Ave. in New York City. That was when I entered the Luca Luca family. That was my school of fashion. There I was, the leading tailor in charge of everything that was a part of the tailoring department, although I had no specific title, the customers called me by a special name; magicfitter! The customers at Luca Luca ranged from the rich and famous to the neighborhood Upper East Side residents. Although the Upper East Side holds many misconceptions of snooty rich women, I would have to disagree because every single customer was wonderful to say the least.
Luca Luca (Luca Orlandi, the designer) and Yildiz Blackstone (President of the company).
As I had the incredible opportunity to work side by side with these two extraordinary people, I am left speechless at what to say. I guess all I have to say is, I love you guys! You are the best!
(Photo of myself, Luca Orlandi, and the team celebrating after the 2003 Spring Fashion show)
(Celebrating my birthday with the team at Luca Luca)
(Me in a stunning Luca Luca dress!)
All-nighters at Luca Luca!
In the above photo, this was one of several nights that I pulled an all-nighter at Luca while the company was preparing for fashion shows! Speaking of all-nighters, at one point Luca found out last minute that he was going to London for an auction, in which all proceeds were to go to children’s donations. He needed a dress to be completely done from scratch overnight! So the next morning, he was on the plane with the dress, which sold at the auction for $30,000!
The Pink Dress
The dress above was also done overnight and I guess you could say it became an ‘overnight success!’ It was the best seller and on top of it, it was featured in several soap operas and movies like, ‘Something’s Gotta Give.’
Working at Luca Luca, I had the opportunity to work with all of the best fabrics that were produced by Italy, France, and Switzerland, unlike the mostly, mass-produced fabrics from China right now. The fabric is the real magic of design. Without good fabric, a dress or a skirt is nothing.
On Saturdays, I’d take my daughter, Molly to work with me at Luca Luca and from the age of four, she grew a deep fascination by all of the fashion sketches hung around Luca Luca. At four years old, she would sit and try to draw out fashion sketches as well. The rest of the team used to give Molly presents of pencils, paints, and markers. That was when I knew that she’d be an artist.
Eventually though, due to personal circumstances, I had to leave the company and it was a heartbreak.
Right now in my life though, there is a new start. With all of the knowledge I’ve gained from the past and more time spent with my kids, they’ve taught me some of the most valuable lessons. I’m a firm believer that kids can be our greatest teachers. Simply put, my kids are my inspiration in everything, especially for what’s to come in the future. As my daughter said in her previous post, we can’t share our plans just yet, being that most of our family members don’t know as well, but soon, we’ll share in another post.
Till then, my daughter and I are working on Athena’s Gown on Etsy. We will be producing an entire collection. It will take some time, but we will keep you updated!
Peace & Love,