West Australian-based label Zhivago is rapidly building a reputation for their signature fusion of impeccably tailored ready-to-wear, avant-garde separates and show-stopping red carpet gowns. Co-designed by longtime friends, Lara Kovacevich and Lydia Tsvetnenko and meaning ‘daring’ in Russian, Zhivago was launched at the 2012 Perth Fashion Festival to widespread critical acclaim. Both designers earned their fashion stripes at tender ages; Lara learned the art of costume via her sister’s successful label that was patroned by many of W.A’s most colourful personalities. While Lydia, demonstrating an early entrepreneurial streak would sew and then sell clothing to her family and friends. While she completed her degree at WA Institute of Art Design and Media, Lara continued to pursue her passion for music and performance working an Events Manager in the West Australian music scene. Upon graduating, she honed her technical skills working for some of Perth’s best-known labels and learnt the practicalities of designing for a large-scale retail/wholesale brand. Lydia enjoyed a successful career in retail management, restructuring a number of high profile businesses while she studied fashion design part-time at Perth TAFE. After completing her degree, Lydia then moved to LA for a short period to support her husband’s business growth. In LA, Lydia established a small atelier creating custom made eveningwear for a small group of clients. Within 6 months of launching, the label was nominated for the prestigious WA Designer of Tomorrow award at the 2012 West Australian Fashion Awards. For the remainder of 2012 they worked to refine their aesthetic and focused on expanding their retail footprint, to include their first international stockist. Zhivago took part in L’Oreal Melbourne Fashion Festival in March 2013, and again in March 2014. In April 2013, Zhivago made their debut at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, closing the New Generation show with their S/S13/14 collection. Titled Suspended Animation, the cohesive 12-piece collection was a juxtaposition of influences that included athletica, body con boudoir-luxe and their signature high-octane eveningwear. The response from retailers was overwhelmingly positive, with deliveries selling out nation wide literally within a matter of weeks. The Suspended Animation lookbook was released via influential fashion blog Frockwriter. Over the past 2 years Zhivago have dressed an enviable list of international and national celebrities including Katy Perry, Kendall and Kylie Jenner, Giuliana Rancic, Jennifer Hawkins, Dannii Minogue, Samantha Jade, Jesinta Campbell and Nicole Trunfio. However, it was in May 2013 that Lara and Lydia achieved their long-held dream, dressing Lady Gaga. The fashion icon wore the Timeless dress from the Suspended Animation collection when attending a film screening of in New York. Reaction from retailers was swift, with the designers reporting several of their key accounts all increased orders of the Gaga endorsed style. The Winter 2014 collection, Highborn, achieved a remarkable wholesale sell-through, with an increase of 45% from the previous S/S season. Highborn delivered to stores throughout Australia and New Zealand in March 2014. March also saw Zhivago win the People’s Choice Award in the 2014 West Australian Fashion Awards. April 2014 saw Zhivago show to positive reviews at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia in their first Individual Collection Show. The West Australian described the S/S Equilibrium presentation as ‘a cohesive, definitive collection’ with ‘high-voltage sex appeal’. In September 2014 Zhivago were invited present the closing show at the prestigious Perth Fashion Festival. The show was a futuristic reimagining of their MBFWA show and was critically acknowledged as festival’s best show’. This will be Zhivago’s second solo show at MBFWA.