Tag Archives: Interview

NICHOLAS: 7 year old, future astronaut and doctor!

Nicholas is Natalia’s son and Molly’s brother and he’s the third musketeer of our family! Here’s an interview about Nicholas. Molly is interviewing Nicholas in the recording below! Listen to learn more about this imaginative and intelligent, 7 year old!

Hope you all enjoy!!!

And here are some of Nicholas’s favorite drawings that he’s made:

Molly & Nicholas with the Ipad

Soon Nicholas will be finishing his treatment for Leukemia! He was diagnosed way back in November 2008 and we’re excited to say that he’s an amazing and vibrant, 7 year old boy! We’re so proud of him. We chose to homeschool him last year, because he would get sick in school, but also because the public school education in America is diminishing. We found that Nicholas would become very stressed and less creative. Now we do a variety of things to educate Nicholas. The biggest way that we teach Nicholas is that he’s involved with us through everything. As you heard in the interview, Nicholas even goes with us to our colonic sessions and while my mom and I are busy doing colonics, Nicholas became a very good friend with the doctor and helps her out! Don’t worry, it’s nothing weird, but he likes to greet the other patients and help out in the office.

Homeschooling or Unschooling?

This is a question for many parents and we’ve done our fair share of research. We  tend to just go with the flow. We do have a schedule and we do have one specific book that we use. It’s called the BrainQuest book, which makes learning a lot of fun. Nicholas also does have a teacher who comes in for one hour, but the teacher is provided from the New York City Board of Education. This is something that the Board of Ed provides for ill kids. Other than that, we find that experience is the BEST teacher. For example, whether it’s taking Nicholas to a farm or whether it’s taking him to a museum. Nicholas is always super curious and it’s a lot of fun! We don’t pressure him and Nicholas asks a lot of questions all the time and he does educate himself in that sort of way. I guess, you could say that we do a combination of homeschooling and unschooling.


The one thing we find to be the most important and that we might disagree with from other unschoolers is the outlook on reading. Typically, the unschooler philosophy believes that when a child feels that they want to read, they will read. Their curiosity will grow and they will ask to be taught how to read. Although, we completely understand this concept and could see how it might work with some children, we are strong believers of reading. We believe that it’s one of the most important aspects of Education and that it is actually being drained out of the American school system. More and more children in public schools are illiterate. Kids aren’t being taught phonics anymore. We find this to be a crime against children. Reading is knowledge and therefore it is power for a person to make some of the most important decisions in life. We do make Nicholas read everyday and we want him to become and avid reader, just as we are.

Anyways, here are some more photos of our excellent, young chap, Nicholas!

Nicholas & Molly at the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens


Nicholas being dug in the sand!

Nicholas on an old 1950's train.


Peace & Love,

Molly, Natalia, & Nicholas!


What’s on our Christmas list this year? Alexander McQueen’s Savage Beauty.


Although, we don’t actually celebrate Christmas, we do celebrate New Years in the Russian-style. Our roots are from Russia and so in true Soviet style, we have a full-blown New Years celebration with a decorated tree, presents, and a feast! And so this year for New Years, we would love to have Alexander McQueen’s Savage Beauty.

Alexander McQueen is a major inspiration for artists and designers around the world. Unfortunately, in 2010, this genius passed away. We say passed away, because even though it was reported that McQueen committed suicide, this is difficult for us to believe. McQueen, knew from a young age that he’d be a fashion designer, he dropped out of school at age 16, and later his clients would become Mikhail Gorbachev and Prince Charles. McQueen was more than a designer, he as a real artist, and a real mastermind living in our time. Sort of like the Da Vinci of the 21st century and so that’s why it difficult to believe that he committed suicide.

Watch this video below of an extraordinarily creative art performance and fashion piece by McQueen:

The photo above is Alexander McQueen being interviewed by his mother, Joyce McQueen. Here’s the interview:

Joyce McQueen: I would have liked to have invited the late Peter Ustinov for dinner, for his wit and conversation. Who would you like as a dinner guest and why?
Alexander McQueen: What, if I could choose anyone?
JM: Anyone in the world.
AM: Elizabeth I …
JM: Why would you want Elizabeth I? The history maybe?
AM: ‘Cause she’s an anarchist.
JM: She’s an anarchist?
AM: She was an anarchist, yeah. Do you want to have a bit of debate on this?
JM: Well, not at the moment, no.
AM: Because, y’know, she kind of founded the Church of England under her father, with all the upheaval from the French and the Scottish …
JM: Who are your other ones?
AM: Jesus of Nazareth, to check if he really exists, and it’s not just we’ve been reading some Peter Pan book for the past 2,000 years. Or Mel Gibson, to be there if Jesus wasn’t true.

JM: If you could live and work as a designer in any era, which one would it be?
AM: Any time? Future as well?
JM: Future as well. But particularly the past.
AM: Let’s stick to the past then. I’m thinking cavemen and loincloths.
JM: What about Tudors and Stuarts?
AM: Er … I’m answering the questions! Most probably …
JM: What about –
AM: I’m thinking ! Fifteenth-century Flemish, Netherlands. My favourite part of art. Because of the colours, because of the sympathetic way they approached life.
JM: Simplicity, you mean.
AM: I’m not going to get into a big art debate with you.
JM: No, I’m trying to get to the bottom of why you like that.
AM: ‘Cause I think they were very modern for their times, in that period and in that part of the world.
JM: You spend as much time as possible in your beautiful cottage in the country. Do you find that the inspiration you get down there features in your work?
AM: I don’t find inspiration there – it gives me a peace of mind, Mum. Solitude, and a blank canvas to work from, instead of the distractions of the concrete jungle.
JM: Right. So it does inspire you in some ways then.
AM: Not technically. Not country life or bobbing rabbits. It’s the peace and quiet.

JM: As you know, I’m a Simply Red and Elton John fan. Who are your favourite artists?
AM: As in singers?
JM: Yeah, well, y’know, groups, whatever. Because at one time, you were very much into classical music.
AM: Beyoncé. No, I’m only joking.
JM: He was about, what, 15. I know because I’ve still got them at home.
AM: I think composers. People like Michael Nyman, who compose an original piece of music – believe it or not, the artists today are inspired by people like Michael Nyman and Philip Glass, who come up with unusual sounds.
JM: I know, I know, that’s where pop music comes from …
AM: Nah, it’s like the architect who designed the Gherkin [Norman Foster and his Swiss Re tower in London] inspires people, or Alexander McQueen does a collection that inspires other people to do different things and move things forward. Rap music’s been around for too long now to be inspirational. The words are, but the music isn’t.
JM: You haven’t given me an answer there. You haven’t come out with a group.
AM: I have – Philip Glass and Michael Nyman.

JM: All right, then. I’ll ask another question. You have travelled extensively around the world but still have not been to the Isle of Skye, which is the root of your McQueen history. Will you ever visit that area?
AM: Mmm … yes.
JM: In the near future?
AM: Yes.
JM: Right. And that follows on to my next question: what do your Scottish roots mean to you?
AM: Everything.
JM: Well, where do I come in?
AM: [laughs] Oh you’re from the Forest of Dean, yeah. What do you mean, where do you come in?
JM: Well, your Scottish roots mean a lot to you. So where does your mother’s side come in?
AM: What does my mother’s side, the Welsh side, mean to me?
JM: I’m not Welsh! I’m Norman!
AM: All right, Norman! Where does this Norman come from?
JM: Well they come from Viking stock.
AM: That answers a lot for an awful lot of people, I think. I feel more Scottish than Norman.

JM: You recently got your deep-sea diving certificate, didn’t you?
AM: Yeah, underwater diving.
JM: Well, two of my family discovered the wreck of the Marie Rose, deep-sea divers. Just explains that you’ve taken up deep-sea diving as well. It’s a follow-on really, isn’t it?
AM: So from the McQueen side I’ve got anarchy, and my mum’s side, underwater diving.
JM: The calm part. You are often described as an architect of clothing, and I know that you have a keen interest in architecture. What is the most breathtaking building you’ve ever seen?
AM: Ronchamps, by Corbusier.
JM: What do you think of the modern buildings in London?
AM: I love the Gherkin.
JM: You do?
AM: I think it’s fantastic.
JM: But you don’t like any of the old architecture in London?
AM: Well, yeah, but it’s not as nice as it is in Italy or Paris.

JM: If you hadn’t trained on Savile Row, how would you have entered the fashion industry?
AM: I’d have slept my way there.
JM: Or, I don’t know …
AM: Other ways. I’d have found other ways of getting into it.
JM: Do you look at something else and say, “I could have done that as well”?
AM: Photo-journalism. It’s art for the modern times. I think it captures a moment in time that is spontaneous and that reflects where we are. The one I couldn’t have done is be an architect, because I don’t have the brain capacity or the patience.
JM: No, you haven’t got the patience, have you? You mix with VIPs, celebrities, aristocracy … How does coming home and being the baby of the family make you feel?
AM: I’m never fazed by it, because whenever I get home, Dad will always ask me to make him a cup of tea. So it’s just normal.

JM: If you were prime minister or in government, what policies would you implement to make the UK a better place to live?
AM: More politically correct police officers on the streets. And more focus on the north of England instead of just the south, on not so developed parts of the country.
JM: What do you mean, “politically correct police”?
AM: Well, not homophobic police, not racist police, you know? The police need to come down to street level.
JM: Success has brought you financial security. But if you lost it all tomorrow, what would be the first thing you would do?
AM: Sleep. I’d be pleased.
JM: I said you’d go on holiday.
AM: What with? I’d lost it all!

JM: When you received your CBE last October, you told me and Dad that you locked eyes with the Queen and it was like falling in love. What was it about her presence that captivated you?
AM: I made a pact with myself that I wasn’t going to look into her eyes.
JM: But you did.
AM: I did. There was a simultaneous lock, and she started laughing, and I started laughing …
JM: It was a nice moment, wasn’t it?
AM: It was. We caught it on camera where we’re both laughing at each other. She asked a question, “How long have you been a fashion designer?” and I said, “A few years, m’lady.” I wasn’t thinking straight – because I’d hardly had any sleep.
JM: You were nervous.
AM: I was really tired. And I looked into her eyes, it was like when you see someone across the room on a dancefloor and you think, “Whoa!” It was like when I looked into her eyes, it was obvious that she had her fair share of shit going on. I felt sorry for her. I’ve said a lot of stuff about the Queen in the past – she sits on her arse and she gets paid an awful lot of money for it – but for that instant I had a bit of compassion for her. So I came away feeling humbled by the situation, when I wouldn’t have even been in the situation if it wasn’t for you.
JM: I thought it was a great honour.
AM: I didn’t want to do it.
JM: It was an honour for you …
AM: Yeah, but I had my views on what it stands for.

JM: What is your most terrifying fear?
AM: Dying before you.
JM: Thank you, son. What makes you proud?
AM: You.
JM: Why?
AM: No, no, ask the next one: “What makes you furious?” You! [laughs]
JM: No, go on, what makes you proud?
AM: When things go right, when the collection goes right, when everyone else in the company’s proud.
JM: What makes you furious?
AM: Bigotry.
JM: What makes your heart miss a beat?
AM: Love.
JM: Love for children? Love for adults? Love for animals?
AM: Falling in love.

“My friend George and I were walking on the beach in Norfolk, and there were thousands of [razor-clam] shells. They were so beautiful, I thought I had to do something with them. So, we decided to make [a dress] out of them. . . . The shells had outlived their usefulness on the beach, so we put them to another use on a dress. Then Erin [O’Conner] came out and trashed the dress, so their usefulness was over once again. Kind of like fashion, really.”


“It is important to look at death because it is a part of life. It is a sad thing, melancholy but romantic at the same time. It is the end of a cycle—everything has to end. The cycle of life is positive because it gives room for new things.”


“I want to be honest about the world that we live in, and sometimes my political persuasions come through in my work. Fashion can be really racist, looking at the clothes of other cultures as costumes. . . . That’s mundane and it’s old hat. Let’s break down some barriers.”

“For me, what I do is an artistic expression which is channeled through me. Fashion is just the medium.”
This past summer, my mom and I, along with my brother went to the Alexander McQueen exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum. After waiting 2 hours in line just to enter the exhibition we were delightfully stunned! He was truly a mastermind. He had the incredible skill and he also had the creativity. There was so much soul in the work that McQueen made! For us he is an incredible inspiration in both fashion and art. This exhibition was especially striking by the amount of work McQueen accomplished to do in his lifetime! What a passionate person! He was also so inspired by history and nature. One dress is covered with feathers, another in shells, and another has a Flemish painting printed on it. Incredible!
We would love to hear other thoughts and comments on McQueen! What do you think?
Peace & Love,
Molly and Natalia

Etsy Featured Seller on Athena’s Gown Blog: From the Heart by Eva

Hi everybody! Today we have a special surprise for our blog followers! We’ve gotten the chance to interview a very talented Etsy seller and feature her work on our blog. Her name is Eva and you can visit her etsy shop here. Eva is originally from Latvia and currently resides in London. She’s a very talented jewelry maker and as her etsy store claims, she makes, “free spirit hand stamped jewelry for the world travelers!” There is truly a very unique look and meaning to all of Eva’s jewelry and wearing her jewelry would serve as a constant reminder of happiness in our life in a very special way.

Enjoy the Interview and Eva’s  beautiful jewelry and art! 🙂  

(By the way, if you click the images you will be lead to the item’s listing!)

Athena’s Gown: Hi Eva! I looked through almost all of your jewelry on Etsy and it was a real pleasure!  I love the little phrases you use, such as, “I am a yes person.” Can you tell us more about your idea of using inspirational phrases on jewelry and how you came up with this idea?

Eva: Since I was a young teenager, my older sisters always carried utterly smart life quotes with them wherever they went, whatever they did. I rarely understood them (at age 12!) but they inspired me. And so since then I’ve been addicted to positive inspirational phrases, quotes and sayings. It really can move a person if you allow it to. I mostly use positive quotes, but at times there are some random sassy attitude sayings such as “I’m a Free Bitch, Baby”, “You Smell”, “A dirty mind is better than no mind at all” etc. Laughter is all that I’m looing for when someone wears this. 

AG: What is the biggest inspiration for the work you do?

E: My biggest inspiration for all that I do is my late grandmother. And so, she still, even though not with us anymore, inspires me every day. Someone like her will never be forgotten. When I create my jewellery, I thank her for the wisdom she gave me, for I know without her I would never be the person I am now. Ever in 100 years.  

AG: What are your favorite materials to work with?

E: I love to work with clay and paints. Clay is so versatile and also earth-friendly. I feel like a kid again whenever I work with it. And it absorbs paint so well. It’s a challenge every time I work paint into the clay – lets see what’s going to come out of this… Oooh! nice one!

AG: Any favorite books, writers, or artists that really move you?

E: Right now I’m into “Jane Eyre” – written by Charlotte Bronte, an English writer. I’ve seen the latest film, and I’ve read the book once, and yet I cannot let go of it. Jane’s spirit inspires me big times. Someone who’s so dedicated to her own self, having that strong self-discipline many of us lack today. I guess I want to be more like her. My first 2 books that inspired me in my teens were “Notre Dame de Paris” by Victor Hugo and “Memoirs of a Geisha” by Arthur Golden. They still move me.

AG: I read on your Etsy profile that you do other things, beside jewelry making, like painting. Can you tell us more about that?

E: Yes, I do paint and I draw (mostly weird stuff). Although now I’ve taken a break from painting, I want to get back to it at one point in near future. Now I’d like to concentrate on two things – my jewellery line and my studies. It’s rather difficult to juggle all 3 with equal dedication. I’ve been painting since my teens, but never explored it deeper. For me, painting is playing and discovering. It’s a form of expression, just like Acting. In Acting you see characters thoughts on their faces, in painting you see artists inner dialogues on the piece of canvas. I recommend painting for building patience!  

AG: Do you have any end goals with where you’d like to go with your creations, whether it be jewelry or painting?

E: I’m aiming for brand and product recognition internationally. I’d like to expand it to bigger volume orders and more international shipping. Bigger demand, more creative designs and better management. I’d also really like to devote some quality time in near future for painting only. I really want to explore it more and see where it can take me (tell me a thing I DON’T want to explore! Haha!) . 

AG: And last of all, any advice for the newbies on Etsy?

E: Yes! Dear newbie, please don’t quit when you feel nothing moves. At all times motivate and encourage yourself that you WILL succeed if you work on it. Let any judgement/negative comments roll of your shoulders and replace them with positive, success-driven motivation. Create, improve, socialise, co-operate with other artists. It is not easy if you’re alone, but we can all do this. If I did it, YOU can do it too. I’m no better than you. So good luck! And – do NOT give up!

Thanks for the interview, Eva and we wish you lots of luck! 🙂


Peace & Love,

Molly and Natalia