Now I Love Football

Little by little, by not more than word of mouth and keen observance, I have discovered that there is a small school of girls in New York – like fish in a pond – whose free-spirited, sprightly esthetic has not only created an indestructible bond among them, but also captivated the city’s broader social-savvy audience. They wear flowers in their hair, drape vintage fur stoles around their bare shoulders, dart around with big smiles and rosy cheeks and embody the very essence of artsy bohemia, albeit with an urban twist. And though they all come from different ethnic backgrounds, and states or even countries for that matter, they all found each other at one point or another, only to never leave the pack again. And today I meet Liza (following suit after Molly and Cleo) – a beautiful, 26-year old, 5-foot-11 dreamer from Estonia, who converges my impressions in a few truthful words: “It’s hard not to fall in love with them.”

Born to Russian parents, Liza Voloshin grew up in Tallinn, Northern Europe’s oldest capital. She spent most of her childhood chasing foxes and picking mushrooms at their summer house in the woods and remembers how her Siamese cat, Simka, would trail along to catch mice. “Even now, every time I smell firewood, I think of that little summer house and the woods…” she smiles. When the Soviet Union folded in 1991, their idyllic lives changed drastically. The Voloshins were considered outsiders overnight, and ousted by the new government. Her Russian pre-school was vandalized. And the law made it very hard for the family to apply for Estonian citizenship. “Much of that has passed and changed now,” she says pained, “but I can’t imagine what my parents went through during that time. We had to smuggle our way out of Estonia and Russia without proper documents to meet extended family in the US.” They settled in Chicago, where Liza studied Economics and Finance and eventually became an investment banker. “I was always taught by my engineering parents that I should be pragmatic and do something practical but that was always the last thing on my mind,” she grins. “I daydreamed of traveling the world and drinking champagne with artists and poets.”

And much of that childhood dream actually materialized. After her stint of corporate banking and black, fitted business suits, Liza moved to New York, set up a little painting studio in her teeny West Village apartment, fell in love with an all-American lumberjack boy, and started working with Alice & Olivia on their global expansion program. She travels to places like Tokyo, Shanghai and Bejing on a regular basis – she does not speak Chinese or Japanese – and though she usually sits through long, dreary business meetings all day, she always finds time to “find a new shrine, explore a new neighborhood, and uncover hidden gems”, like the kimonos she collects. “I found my first vintage kimono oddly enough in Milan years ago at my favorite vintage boutique, Cavalli e Nastri,” she remembers. “It was the most beautiful and comfortable piece of clothing I had ever worn. With frequent travels to Tokyo, my collection of kimonos has now grown to over twenty. Every time I go to Japan, I visit a vintage store called Chicago with floors upon floors of kimonos. The hard part is deciding how to edit for my little apartment… My boyfriend makes me get rid of one piece from my closet every time I bring something new.”

So what do you call a girl who philanders in wafty dresses all day? “A romantic minimalist comes to Tsarist Russia?” she laughs. “I am inspired by the opulence of traditional costumes from around the world – Kuwaiti colorful robes, Russian kokoshniks, Indian bridal hair braids and of course Japanese kimonos. I also just absolutely adore fur, but hate animal cruelty and do not condone the modern farming of fur. So, I just wear vintage! I feel like I’m giving the pieces a second life, and the love and care they deserve.” And what does her jock of a boyfriend have to say about her rather shrouded outfits? “There must be something exotic about a girl that speaks Russian and wears a kimono to a southern California boy. Although I think he fakes his super casual ways sometimes – he is the one that bought me the vintage grey suede coat with fur collar for Valentine’s Day! But you’re right – I’m going to wear jeans and a baseball cap for his next birthday and take him to the ballpark. We’ve worked out a deal that every time his football team wins, I get a present. Now I love football.”

November 7, 2013

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6 Responses to “Now I Love Football”

  1. avatar
    Emil &Ellen Gnesin - Reply

    I kept saying that my relative Lisa is a very beautiful girl. But my daughter in low and her sister is also pretty.

    • avatar

      You can find the tassels in most sari stores or search ebay/etsy for ‘paranda’!

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