Nataliya Bondarenko, daughter of a career military, was born in the south of the European Russia. When she was 14, after finding out her passion for tennis at 9 years old, sport that she will then develop at a competitive level, she began her journey as an independent woman. This was just the beginning of her dream that starts off with her Interior Design degree and continues, but does not end, with her debut in the luxury accessories segment. A debut called Rubeus.
What about Rubeus history?
Rubeus, Latin for ruby, the king of the gems, born with the idea of using the most precious materials. In Italy, at the present time, is missing a brand that produce such luxury accessories although there are many women’s collections dedicated to handbags and footwear that could be my true competitors. Crocodile, for example, is one of the many precious materials with which we make our collections. Production takes place in Milan with the exception of metal accessories that we entrust to excellent Florentine master craftsmen. It is very important for us that this happens in Florence as you can clearly see the difference when a product pass into their hands.
How do you combine the taste of a Made in Italy product with the creativity of a Russian designer?
I was born in Russia but I feel very international, my whole family is actually very international: my husband is Russian/American and my children speak three languages. I’m in love with Italy; I remember the first time I arrived in Rome: I was immediately fascinated by the city, I’m completely enchanted by this country. Maybe I was Italian in my previous life! That’s why I wanted to learn the language quickly and I decided to go to Florence to attend a master’s degree at the Florence Design Academy. It has been a further confirmation of how I deeply like to live here, so together with my family, we moved to Milan.
Rubeus is a recent enterprise. How are you positioned on the market?
We are planning to open our first store next year, so we are already planning the interior design. As a first step we chose Milan, as this city is already the headquarters of the brand. Then we will see, but surely our target destinations would be London, Paris, New York, Hong Kong. In particular, I will go to Hong Kong in March, on the occasion of Art Basel (15-17), to talk with very important families, that are already interested in our product; in Hong Kong there is a private club, only for rich people and they would like to have the exclusive, but I’d like to discover new markets, like the rest of China for example.
How about the collaboration between Nataliya Bondarenko and Riccardo Polidoro?
N .: First of all let me say that we are both two architects.
R .: I’m specialized in interior design, however, both of us are especially designers.
N .: Initially, when I decided to introduce a capsule collection of shoes in the new collection, I thought to turn to an exterior designer. I received many proposals, but when I saw the work of Riccardo, as he draws, especially shoes, it was love at first sight. We soon shared many interests, he tells me about his world and I do the same with mine, and we understand each other perfectly.
R .: Although we are both fashion designers, our main affinity is precisely our training, which starts from architecture and led us to create this product, our product.
To each his own. Why not a single creative mind instead of two?
N .: Because I am a woman and who better than a woman knows how a bag should be?! Comfort is the most important goal.
R .: Why? Because I’m fetishist! Jocking aside, I really like shoes, I’m used to work on shoes as I collaborate with other brands so this is really my world. In addition, the product Natalya wants is the same product I want too.