Irina Shabayeva: A long way from 'Runway'
“Project Runway” Season 6 winner Irina Shabayeva was born in Russia, grew up in Sheepshead Bay, calls the East Village home and now brings her style to her new midtown showroom.Between chowing down at Spice Market and walking poodles Princess and Valentino, the 28-year-old designer showed us around her stark-white showroom, and dished on everything from metallic bustiers to Kim Kardashian’s backside.
What did you think of Gretchen Jones winning Season 8 of “Project Runway"?
I met her at Heidi Klum’s Halloween party. She approached me and was like, “What’s life like after winning?” and I said, “Don’t worry about life after; just enjoy it.” To be honest, I didn’t really watch “Project Runway” this season. What have you been up to since winning?
Working my butt off on my collection.
What else has been keeping you busy?
I’m gearing up to launch a line on The Home Shopping Network on Nov. 24. It’s going to be knitwear, outerwear, with a few coats thrown in. All the things I love. I use a lot of knits and faux fur.
How would you describe your aesthetic?
Feminine, romantic, a combination of hard and soft. I’m always looking for that balance. Are you inspired by New York street fashion?
How can you not be? Every day, when I walk outside of my apartment, it’s like, “Wow that’s an interesting mix,” and there’s another one and another one. The East Village is good for that.
What do you like about living in the East Village?
It’s so neighborhoody, and it’s mellow. It’s not like waking up in the middle of Park Avenue with people knocking you down to get a cab. Which New York City neighborhood do you think has the best- dressed residents?
Let’s give it to the West Village. They’re downtown and eclectic. It’s like you’ll see someone wearing a hat from a vintage store, a great pair of jeans and a pricey handbag. It’s a nice taste level. What do you think of Kim Kardashian’s style? She’s a recent New York transplant.
She has a look, and she’s owning it. If I were dressing her, I’d put her in something elegant and soft, but still young and sexy. Something that’s not so much “Here’s my a--, look at it now.”
Which celebrity would you like to dress?
Rihanna. I’d put her in a silver-and-gold bustier with hand-cut mirrors, like a mosaic, on gold, imported Italian fabric and covered in tulle. Add a pair of jeans and some pumps, and she’d be done.
Irina Shabayeva's New York Faves:
"Honestly, I like Victoria's Secret. The lingerie there is nice and it’s not a million dollars.""But if I want to splurge on a piece of lingerie I like Agent Provocateur. If you buy a piece from there, you've gotta’ do something with it. What that is, I don’t know." "I love the Prada store. It’s so modern and the salespeople are great. The last time I was in there, they gave my dog water out of a porcelain teacup with a saucer."