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House of Zhivago : The beloved vegan luxury line

February 12, 2024 / Lifestyle

As an avid fashion lover, I’m always on the hunt for the perfect outfit rather it be for a special occasion or just for the sake of nailing my date night look.  Oscar Wilde famously said, “One should either be a work of art, or wear a work of art,” and I’ve always believed fashion is wearable art. I was pleasantly surprised on one of my recent “hunts” to discover a brand that I had not yet heard of.  The designs were feminine, yet powerful and I instantly appreciated the artistry.  

  ZHIVAGO is an Australian brand founded by Lara Kovacevich and is renowned for its perfectly tailored ready-to-wear, avant-garde separates and high-octane evening wear. They are a 100% cruelty-free, vegan luxury fashion house. The brand has attracted a following of leading ladies including Kylie Jenner, Lady Gaga and Paris Hilton. You can even find Madonna in a ZHIVAGO jumpsuit in her video, God Control.  Kovacevich has seen her creations rule the red carpets worldwide with her brand soaring since the pandemic. 

DEVELOPING HER HUMAN ALGORITHM

After our recent discussion, I realized her loyal fan base is due to more than just her bold designs.  Kovacevich has a philosophy that “Fashion isn’t one sized, it’s for everyone and that you should feel celebrated and strong” that her brand centers around.  Kovacevich says, “My favorite part of having my own label is helping people feel good about themselves. Hearing from our customers who post on social media or contact us to share their stories of how wearing ZHIVAGO makes them feel like the best version of themselves, is so gratifying.” Her brand exposure has allowed her to donate things like a “year of Zhivago” for a charity supporting breast cancer.  

Kovacevich has always been interested in fashion and recalls her earliest inspirations. “I used to spend a lot of time styling outfits to emulate my favorite stars as a teenager. When I was around 6 or 7, my older sister had a local label and she used to design clothes and costumes for dancers, drag acts and some of our most colorful local performers.” She believes this is what formed fashion for her and adds that, “These performers really owned their sexuality, and I loved it.”  

Now, with ZHIVAGO in large retailers like Neiman Marcus and SAKS, Lara still follows her purist roots for creating her line.  Lara says “Fashion shouldn’t expire – you should be able to invest in quality pieces that in ten years’ time are still current. The idea of always needing something new is foreign to me.”   Replicating catwalk trends and designs is not an option for Kovacevich – in fact, she doesn’t even follow fashion magazines and has no interest in what’s “in”.  Her formula for design is what she calls the human algorithm. “It’s the customer that tells me what’s working for them, and I follow that every season. I just want to create beautiful, unique, strong classic pieces that you can wear now or in 10 years’ time,” she adds. 

ZHIVAGO was awarded Australia’s most animal-friendly label and as a vegan herself, Lara has prioritized the impact her company is having on the world. “I wanted to be able to sleep comfortably at night & being a vegan myself for cruelty reasons I did notice that there were limited brands that adhered to a cruelty free philosophy,” Kovacevich says.  Her motivation is not publicity, it’s a philosophy that its just what needs to happen for any company that leaves a footprint.  For years, ZHIVAGO has quietly used all recycled packaging from polybags to hang tags.  The dust bags are made from recycled satin and the dress linings are made from recycled plastic.

As a next step for her growing company, Kovacevich will remain committed to vegan fashion and hopes to introduce accessories and shoes.  “There aren’t many non-leather products in high end fashion.  I’m going to fill that hole in the market,” she states. 

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