MJ: Where did the name Avgvst come from?
NB: My mother’s favourite poem by Boris Pasternak is called August – hence the name of the brand. I was born in August. We changed our name from Natalia Bryantseva to Avgvst when we opened our first store in Yekaterinburg. It seemed dishonest to me to call the business the whole team is working on with the name of one person.
MJ: Harry Nuriyev from Crosby Studios designed your Moscow store, how did this collaboration happen?
NB: Harry Nuriev, in fact, designed all our stores: in Moscow, St. Petersburg and Yekaterinburg, but our collaboration really began with the Moscow store on Patriarch’s Ponds. It was Harry who chose one of our signature colours – yellow, boldly painting the Moscow store in yellow. Harry is responsible not only for our yellow colour, but also for the fact that Avgvst has its own face in retail. The stores he designed for us became a part of a very special shopping experience, comparable to going to a good exhibition – and with the opening of a coffee shop in St. Petersburg, to a restaurant.
MJ: You collaborated with Alena Doletskaya (ex Vogue Russia and Interview Magazine EIC), how would you say it affected the brand?
NB: Alena Doletskaya noticed Avgvst Jewelry herself and included it in the selection about the youngest and most promising Russian designers for Interview Russia. This is how our friendship started. And I’m not even afraid to say that she became a mentor for me – Alena gave me advice on where to move in design and with the positioning. It was Alena who suggested that hand-cut rock crystal could become the hallmark of the brand. The rock crystal plays a major role in our core collection Heart of Avgvst. Then Alena offered to work together on a capsule collection for her project – and this collaboration was so simple and productive that the next joint collection was made for Avgvst. Our friendship continues and now we are discussing a new joint collection. Alena, like me, adores antique jewellery. We enjoy discussing how to make the designs of the last century more relevant.
MJ: As we can see from your collection with Raketa watches that’s dedicated to Sofia Kovalevskaya, the first female mathematics professor, you love celebrating women, can you tell us more about it? What other women inspire you?
NB: Sofia Kovalevskaya was not the first woman to whom we have dedicated a collection. The collaboration with Alena Doletskaya, “Alma” – white gold earrings, rings and pendants with rock crystal, have been dedicated to the first and only female jeweller of the Carl Fabergé factory, Alma Pihl. Sofia Kovalevskaya and Alma Pihl show a portrait of the women who inspire us: those who go against the rules, against social fabric, strong, passionate about their work. I love the history of pioneers, especially when they are women, because they have to go a more difficult and long way to say a new word or do something new.