Melbourne influencer Rozalia Russian’s Instagram feed is a lesson in glamour. Street with a haute spin, Russian is unapologetic in her pursuit of being fabulous, forever with a sense of daring. Even when touting a tracksuit (her own Apparel by Rozalia, for example), she remains impeccable in her presentation, perfectly coiffed yet effortlessly cool all the same.
But her personal style has evolved over the years. “My style has really simplified over the years,” she tells GRAZIA. “It is very tonal with a masculine twist. But that’s not to say I don’t enjoy dressing up for special occasion.”
And being at home doesn’t mean she can’t dress up (especially when her stylist Elliot Garnaut is around).
Much like his previous collections, Matičevski Fall-Winter 2020 is poetic. His gowns are often fêted as architectural triumphs, both operatic and haunting, impactful yet tender. Through rising ruffles and skulking trains, prodigious peplums and soft flounces, there is an innate strength – and it’s this that connects Rozalia and Toni.
“I wanted to celebrate this strength,” explains Garnaut.
“In many ways she encompasses the Maticevski woman. Bold, striking, confident – yet embodies a softness.”
Today, tenderness is her new power.
Wrapped in swathes of gauzy black tulle from Matičevski’s forthcoming Fall-Winter collection, Rozalia is rhythmic. Tender. Soft. But there’s still that strength, something she says has always drawn her to Matičevski’s design sensibility. “I am drawn towards Toni’s designs because I feel like they have an element of cool masculinity to them,” she says. “They are beautiful pieces and when I wear them I feel confident, however aren’t too girly.”
Indeed, he still knows how to sell sexy – his pieces always constructed with a woman’s contours in mind. “I love the way he adds subtle sexiness to his designs by playing with texture and shapes,” she muses. “He really knows how to design for a woman’s body and there is always just the right amount of skin showing.”
For Russian, who spent lockdown at home with husband Nick and her young children, isolation was all about a change of pace. “Prior to lockdown, life was so fast and I would never had the chance to read a book or bake something from scratch,” she reflects. “So I really enjoyed life in the slow lane.”
Relishing life’s untethered moments, she used isolation as a time to idle, “learning how to relax and slow down again.” But it wasn’t without its challenges. “Keeping myself motivated was definitely challenging,” she admits. “I was fine for the first month and then it kind of all went out the window.” Plus, homeschooling her minis, Willow, 6, and Kingston, 3. “Add in two kids and homeschooling and my days were a big blur!”
Be it the slow or fast lane, there’s no doubt Rozalia Russian is always in the driving seat. And in Matičevski couture, nonetheless.
“I’ve always been very vocal in my support of Australian designers,” says Elliot Garnaut. “I firmly believe that our home grown talent is paramount in setting the tone for what the global A-List are wearing both on and off the red carpet and my dear friend Toni Maticevski is no exception.
Coveted by J’Lo, Penelope Cruz and Rita Ora to name but a few, Toni has become a true icon of Australian style. What his garments do to a woman’s body is something of folklore. Every design tells a story. Each piece turns a woman into a modern heroine. Each outfit is a celebration of the female form.
I wanted to celebrate this strength from home with Rozalia Russian. In many ways she encompasses the Maticevski woman. Bold, striking, confident yet embodies a softness. Similarly, Toni’s FW20 collection screams this from the rooftops. It is my personal favourite to date.
I chose two pieces from FW20 that I see as the light and dark of the collection. The first, a sexy LBD. A perfect fit for Rozalia. Then, in contrast an ethereal tulle moment. Not only do these represent the diversity of Maticevski but also the diversity of Rozalia.
My advice? Don’t shy away from something having never tried it before. If you’re normally the sexy girl, embrace something a little softer this season. And visa versa. We’ve all got a little light and dark in us.”
Photography and videography: Ashleigh Larden
Styling: Elliot Garnaut
Hair and Makeup: Chantelle Baker