Pint-sized editor Miroslava Duma gives her verdict on the new Russian aesthetic. 06 September 2012 Я перевела кое-что выборочно Miroslava Duma, or Mira to her friends, is one quarter of the glamorous troupe of women known affectionately as 'the Russian mafia'. Positively stalked by Tommy Ton et al, they have dominated street style blogs since they arrived on the scene a few seasons ago, conspicuous for their unbounded yet impeccable taste in high end designer wares. Мирослава Дума, или Мира для друзей, одна из четверых в гламурной труппе женщин, известных как "Русская мафия" The chic clique comprises Ulyana Sergeenko, a fashion designer with a penchant for turbans who is garnering plaudits on the back of her well-received couture debut in Paris in February; Elena Perminova, model and girlfriend of billionaire media mogul Alexander Lebedev; Vika Gazinskaya, also a fashion designer with an ever-changing haircut and a love of vintage silhouettes; and Mira, the daughter of a Russian senator and founder of Buro 24/7, a fashion news website. Chic clique (дословно шикарная группабандаклан) состоит из Ульяны Сергеенко, модного дизайнера cо склонностью к тюрбанам, которой рукоплескали , после дебютного показа в феврале в Париже; Елена Перминова, модель и герлфренд миллиардера и медиа персоны Александра Лебедева; Вика Газинская, тоже дизайнер, которая постоянно меняет прически и любит винтажный стиль; и Мира - дочь русского сенатора, основателя Buro 24/7, вебсайта о новостях моды. The Russians are coming: Ulyana Sergeenko, Elena Perminova and Vika Gazinskaya. Photo: REX Features. Their immaculate look is proof that Russian style - stereotyped for so long as 'tight and bright' - has evolved into something more sophisticated in recent years. The Soviet Union was once a fashion-free zone; prior to the 1990s, there were no fashion boutiques and no fashion magazines. The collapse of the USSR in 1991 changed everything, as Mira recalls: 'It was something in the air that you felt and realised: significant changes are coming. I grew up with the understanding that inexpensive and staid dress was the right choice for me. I didn't know what it was to be 'an instrument of propaganda' but I remember thinking, 'Why does it have to be like that?' I was too young to know the political implications but it was something rebellious deep inside of me. The department stores had such limited stocks of clothes - I was a huge fan of the Hollywood golden age, so I got my fashion fix watching movies featuring Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant and Marilyn Monroe.' The design industry in Russia since perestroika has remained limited despite the huge influx of wealth, but tastes are changing. 'Many young people are eager to get as far away as possible from stereotypes of Russian kitsch,' Mira asserts. Where Russians would once revere international designers alone, choosing flashy labels and ostentatious furs, 'now more and more celebrities want their cocktail dresses made by Vika Gazinskaya or by Alexander Terekhov. We've never had any history of fashion in Russia, but there has been a revolution of thinking. Vika, Ulyana Sergeenko, Nina Donis, Alexander Terekhov - they're all showing that Moscow has the potential to be a fashion capital.' "Многие молодые люди стремяться уйти как можно дальше от стереотипов русского китча", - утверждает Мира." Сейчас все больше знаменитостей хотят платье от Vika Gazinskaya или Alexander Terekhov. Vika, Ulyana Sergeenko, Nina Donis, Alexander Terekhov - все они показывают, что у Москвы есть потенциал стать столицей моды." Mira wears one of her best friend Vika's designs. Photo: Miroslava Duma. Mira's part in the revolution is less design-based. After a spell as an editor at Russian Harper's Bazaar , she realised that 'the future belongs to web journalism.' She founded Buro 24/7 , a website dedicated to fashion, art, architecture, cinema, music and style and is now a freelance writer. An Eastern European version is available by license, and there are plans for an English, Asian, French and Arabic version, and even Buro cafés and bars. We caught up with her ahead of Fashion Month. Describe a typical day. My working day can't be limited to 12 hours. I'm in touch with our editors 24 hours a day because when it's bedtime in Moscow, where I live, it's afternoon in New York. I'll have a few business meetings - collaborations between Buro and other brands, advertising, new projects - and I'm constantly keeping an eye on the news. If I have some spare time, I'll visit exhibitions but I love to hang out with my family. My two-year-old son, my husband and my family are my priority. How do you get dressed in the morning? Donna Karan once said that if it takes more than 20 minutes to get ready you have some problems with your appearance. I totally agree. I can't understand women who open their huge wardrobes and say, 'I have nothing to wear.' How would you define the Russian aesthetic? Last year we were all obsessed with beautiful silhouettes and perfecting lines. All the Russian designers have different signatures, though; Vika Gazinskaya's outfits often resemble Christobal Balenciaga's early work, for example, but updated with modern graphics. Хотя у всех русских дизайнеров есть свой почерк; одежда от Vika Gazinskaya часто похожа на ранние творения Christobal Balenciaga, например, но "обновлена" современной графикой. Who are your favourite designers? There are so many, but I am loyal to Vika, Marni, Chanel, Phoebe Philo, Raf Simons, Ostwald Helgason, Proenza Schouler… What books do you have on your bedside table? I love classic Russian literature - Gogol, Leskov, Turgenev, Tolstoy, Dostoevsky. Lately I've become fond of American literature; I'm reading Hemingway in the original English and his writing style seems boyish. I like the tight, athletic prose of The Sun Also Rises. I like to read several books at the same time - I've been reading Anna Karenina by Tolstoy and also Afisha magazine, a special edition devoted to the history of Russian media, simultaneously. What do you do to relax? Some say yoga is the answer; as for me, I like to eat Toffifee caramel candies. Как вы расслабляетесь? Я люблю есть Toffifee, конфеты с карамелью. What is your secret talent? I have an ability to enjoy every single moment of life. I cherish an hour spent with my lovely son and another spent writing an article; I am an optimist. Also I can fly like Batman. But that's another story.