My France: Alexey Nilov, Sasha Ptaag and Maria Masliy about their habits and French lifestyle

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Joint project with Kronenbourg 1664

Summer has come to an end, and we are almost ready to accept it. A new “work season” begins, and traditionally opens with Ukrainian Fashion Week. A few days before the start of the shows, lectures and presentations, we managed to meet with the gloss editor Alexei Nilov, designer Masha Masliy and photographer Sasha Ptaag. They decided to talk about France. Why? France – Mecca for all the fashionistas of the world, the legislator of traditions and good taste, and the birthplace of the beer brand Kronenbourg 1664, which this year is the official partner of UFW and will treat the guests of Fashion Week with its famous white beer with notes of citrus and coriander. Each of us has something French. Someone has a little more, someone has a little less. But definitely there. Our heroes talk about their "French" characteristics, habits and lifestyle.

Alexey Nilov Sasha Ptaag Maria Masliy

What do you associate with France?

Given the fact that my first trip abroad was to Paris, I would associate France with my first love for travel. Plus chic, the art of living, good taste, gastronomy and the elusive flair that can only be felt in France.

Which French city would you go to right now? Why?

I am always happy to return to Paris, whether it be Fashion Week or vacation. I have been coming to the capital of France for almost 15 years and every time I discover something new. But if we talk about where I would go right now, then this is undoubtedly Etretat. When I arrived there for the first time, one of the subscribers said that there is absolutely nothing to do there. But I went there to do nothing: walk in the gardens, look at the English Channel, eat oysters and wander along the sheer cliffs, the "models" of Monet.

Do you like the blue color and what do you associate it with?

Firstly, I grew up on the seashore, so all shades of blue are my favorites. I love the blue color in the interior, in clothes, even in the color of the car body. But I choose the dishes in different colors, because blue beats off the appetite.

What is a French lifestyle and is it there?

Of course have! Not everyone feels and understands him – and thank God. L'art de vivre – the art of living. Either you buy fish forks and cheese knives, or you don’t. Eat from porcelain and drink from crystal or not again. Do you buy flowers at home? These are trifles that surround you at home and at work, some things that become inherent in you, even if you spied them somewhere. In any case, the basis of everything is beauty.

You cook a lot, what is your favorite French dish and why?

Oddly enough, I do not have a favorite dish. From all French I will choose oysters, all cheeses, pate, foie gras, these crazy sausages and bread. I’m not talking about sweets, because I have 100 days without sugar.

Which famous French would you like to meet in person? Why?

Simon Port Jacques. We have long planned to interview him.

What is your favorite French writer?

Marcel Proust.

What is your favorite french movie?

"Fatal Beauty". Among my friends, many phrases are sorted into quotes – it is always fun. "Alex, what time is it?" "Nine diamonds!"


How would you describe your style? Does it have anything from the French?

I can not describe my style in one word, because it is heterogeneous. I won’t walk in suits all the time, as I won’t walk in hoodies and jeans all the time. As for clothes, I always adhere to the theory of comfort and quality of materials. From the French, it is a little chic. If the jacket is made of wool or cashmere, watches and accessories are just Cartier, because this is the most French house. Shoes and carry-on – Louis Vuitton. And this is not about the love of brands, but that you are in contact with a legend and something impeccable. These things form your style.

UFW starts today – how do you feel about such events and what designers are you planning to attend?

I involuntarily compare everything and everyone with what I see at Fashion Weeks in Milan and Paris. And I better not do it. In any case, the work of the UFW team (whose partner is the French beer brand Kronenbourg 1664) and designers deserves respect – this is hellish work. There are usually few male shows, but I will definitely go to Klimchuk and Finch.

You lived a year in France. Managed to assimilate during this time, to become your own?

It was a wonderful time of discovery and growth. It turned out to assimilate, but it's difficult to become your own even with knowledge of the language, and is it necessary? Better to remain yourself, an unusual eastern european guy. The process of assimilation took place in several stages, from total enthusiasm from everything around to a slightly deeper understanding of culture and people's acceptance.

What "French" habits do you have?

I really like that the French eat on schedule: at 12:00 everyone starts lunch, then until 17-19: 00 almost all establishments are closed. Now I also try to eat on such a schedule. The rest of the habits are rather negative, the French smoke a lot – now I can roll up a cigarette without a typewriter, even on the go. And they cross the street into a red light if there are no cars (and sometimes even if there are), but upon returning this habit disappeared from me.

What is your favorite french photographer? Why?

Henri Cartier-Bresson is a master photojournalist. Recently I re-read the biographical book about him, “Dialogues,” which contains various interviews of him over 30-40 years, and you can trace how his thoughts changed over time. He is also known for trying to shoot any scene at the time of the highest emotional stress, which he called the "decisive moment." Watching his pictures, I want to shoot not a staged photo, but a directed Universe. (Smiles.) You just need to leave the house with a camera in your hands and train your vision of the "decisive moment".

Which French city would you return to right now? Why?

Paris. Favorite, contrasting, noisy, quiet, beautiful, disgusting – real. In late September, I will be shooting street style again at Paris Fashion Week.

When I say blue, what is the first association you have with this color?

The water element, the limitless, life-giving ocean – is strong and fair.
Sometimes it seems that the distant uncharted space is also blue, just a very dark shade.

Three favorite French words?

Aurore (French "dawn"), Liberté (French "freedom"), Amour (French "love").

What should we learn from the French?

The French are good at enjoying the moment. I think it would not hurt us sometimes to slow down and enjoy the usual things: a delicious breakfast, a leisurely walk, an interesting book. To bake such a delicious bread, alas, cannot be learned.

What is your favorite french movie?

"In the last breath" by Jean-Luc Godard, very beautiful and vibrant. This picture may be a manifesto of the French new wave. It seems to me that everyone has seen this film, but if not, be sure to watch it.

What tastes good to you? How would you describe your style?

It is difficult to describe a good taste; it is either there or not. Now in my wardrobe mainly sports comfortable clothes for the city, which is nice to take off and relax. I always make deliberate purchases, so I have few things and I rarely buy new clothes. There are several products of the Ukrainian brand Riot Division, very pleased with the quality and usability. There are things, for example, a dark green coat and beautiful shirts bought in Paris at vintage flea markets in the Montmartre area.

UFW kicks off today (partnered by the French beer brand Kronenbourg 1664) – do you plan to rent a street style? What designers are you planning to attend?

I try to always be at Ukrainian Fashion Weeks, I want to support our designers. I will be at the show with my good friends Finch, it is also interesting to see Theo and Frolov collections this season.

What do you associate with France?

With impressionists and museums, romance, literature of the early twentieth century and, of course, fashion.

Which French city would you go to right now? Why?

Nice! And then on a trip by car along the Cote d'Azur. The last time I was there 10 years ago, on a curriculum in macroeconomics. It was an exchange course between our KNEU and Sofia-Antipolis University. It is difficult to forget the first independent journey in life, especially considering how magical this region is.

What do you think, what future awaits the fashion industry?

Now all trends lead to conscious consumption – the less the better. I believe that a fashion industry will face a revolution. Now I am actively working in the field of sustainability and I believe that this should be a priority among the values ​​of any brand. Definitely, the mass market must survive the transformation, and store shelves will be occupied by more stable products manufactured following ethical principles in relation to the planet and other people. We at Marsala are actively working on a more environmentally friendly product line, but making a truly eco-friendly product in shoes is a real challenge.

Who is your favorite French designer?

I’ll be commonplace, but I’ll say that this is Christian Dior. I cannot help but admire the revolution of forms that he produced.

What 3 "French" things should be in the wardrobe of every fashionista?

White shirt, beige trench coat and comfortable shoes.

What does the expression “French charm” mean to you? Does it exist at all or is it all myths for tourists?

Their culture is very special. I consider this metaphor fair in relation to France. In their traditions, manners and projections into any art, their own magic is traced. And, frankly, creating so many magnets for tourists is a real talent!

What is your blue color associated with? Do you use it in your collections?

With night and sky, the garden of Majorelle Yves Saint Laurent, the velvet dress that was presented to me when I was 5 years old. Of course, we have a lot of blue, because this is one of the most popular shoe colors. We use both muted black and blue, and ultramarine, pale blue or blue with a turquoise tint.

What is good taste?

Good taste refers to concepts that cannot be described in words. Mechanically, this is a choice due to your personal study of the world throughout your life. But in reality this is too complex and subjective construct.

How would you describe your style?

From year to year my preferences change. If earlier I wanted things to make me stop looking and turn around, now I am comfortable in calm unisex silhouettes. Nevertheless, the wardrobe contains a mix of bright and calm things, which I alternate to suit my mood.

UFW is starting today, will you be participating as a designer this season and which designers are you planning to attend?

Our shoes will be at the shows of Artem Klimchuk and Vani Frolov. I plan to definitely get to the shows of Lake, A.M.G., Dafna May. I also speak at the Be sustainable conference, where I will share my experience in creating eco-friendly shoes.

Kronenbourg 1664 was born back in 1664 in the French province of Alsace and has since kept the traditions of true brewing art. The second half of the XVII century was a special and bright period in the history of France, which was called Art De Vivre (c. French – the art of living). It was the time of King Louis XIV, marked by a passion for luxurious things – lush balls and feasts, elegant interiors and beautiful theatrical performances.

Mark Kronenbourg 1664 managed to preserve and carry through the centuries the spirit of that unforgettable era. Today Kronenbourg 1664 is a premium beer, the official ambassador of the French lifestyle.

In Ukraine, the brand is represented by two varieties: Blanc (light white beer with notes of citrus and coriander) and Blanc Fruits Rouges (light unfiltered beer with berry notes)

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