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The Aisan Art Museum of San Francisco's Gala to celebrate the exhibit opening of "Maharajah: The Splendor Of India's Royal Courts"

A throwback to old-world style, Tatiana Sorokko’s presence is one of powerful allure and elegance. Her confidence and understated glamour commands attention, and her self-professed admiration for strong women undoubtedly plays a part in the many roles she juggles – wife, stepmother, writer, stylist, model, couture collector and museum curator.

Sorokko, Russia’s first world-renowned supermodel, had a rather unconventional upbringing. Her father was a nuclear physicist in communist Russia, and she was born and raised in Arzamas-16, a top-secret nuclear facility in the Soviet Union.

 “Trends are forgotten. I am never bothered by the latest and greatest.

Sorokko went on to study at the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, when she was discovered at age 18 by Parisian modeling agent Marilyn Gauthier, founder and CEO of Marilyn Agency.

The 5’11 blonde beauty set out for Paris to embark upon what became a long and illustrious modeling career. Sorokko has walked the runways of internationally recognized fashion houses such as Dior, Yves Saint Laurent and Calvin Klein. She’s modeled for luxe labels such as Prada, Vivienne Westwood, Chanel, Lanvin and Alexander McQueen. Further cementing her place as one of the modeling world’s greats, Sorokko has graced the covers of Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue, W and Elle, among others.

Since she first exploded on the high fashion scene, Sorokko has moved with her husband, Serge Sorokko, to California and currently resides in the San Francisco area.

Despite her role showcasing the fashion world’s latest trends, Sorokko’s love of history, style, and simple elegance have firmly established a classic and timeless aesthetic when it comes to her own sense of style.

“With fashion, it’s so important to create something timeless,” she said. “Trends are forgotten. I am never bothered by the latest and greatest.  I have a different personal style that goes against all of that.”

Sorokko’s everyday style is basic, but when she dresses for evening and special occasions, she mixes vintage, which she collects, with classically made pieces that express a sense of intellectual curiosity. She orders most of her evening clothes from designers and views fashion as a personal dialogue between herself and the designer.

In fact, Sorokko encourages all women to take such a personal stance when it comes to fashion and dressing.

“Every woman should truly understand her proportion and her size,” she said. “Style comes from understanding fashion and proportion, not following trends.  Fashion constantly changes and evolves, but it must be personal. Get comfortable with yourself. Being secure with oneself is the best fashion accessory.”

Sorokko is also one of the world’s most well known couture collectors and has been known to gift or loan her pieces to museums such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the San Francisco’s California Palace of the Legion of Honor.

Apart from her role as a global fashion icon, Sorokko is co-owner of her husband’s eponymous Serge Sorokko Gallery, and is a contributing editor for Harpers Bazaar, a post she has held since 2005.

 Sorokko plans to continue to immortalize the world of fashion, producing and curating fashion-related exhibits, and wants to one day publish a book on American designers.

In addition to her passion for fashion, Sorokko has also discovered a talent for writing. As author of Telegram from Tatiana Sorokko, a popular monthly column of fashion and style commentary for the Russian edition of Vogue, she has interviewed international celebrities and covered a wide range of hot topics. In 2010, a lavish book, Extending the Runway: Tatiana Sorokko Style, showcased her personal collection of vintage and couture garments and accessories to coincide with her large-scale museum exhibition of the same name.

The Russian Fashion Museum honored Sorokko by opening with her exhibition, also titled Extending the Runway: Tatiana Sorokko Style. Soon after, her style installation debuted in the United States at the Phoenix Art Museum. Sorokko is now working to expand Extending the Runway into Canada and China.

Sorokko also works closely with the Russian Fashion Museum to curate important historical fashion exhibits. She is currently involved with producing a large-scale exhibition of flapper dresses from the 1920s.  She also is looking for opportunities to design costumes for period movies.

“When you show historical fashion, it is not about exhibiting a dress,” she said. “It’s about showing a period of history and how people relate through fashion and clothes to that history.”

Her philanthropic pursuits concentrate on world cultures. She is co-chair of the gala opening of  Maharaja: The Splendor of India’s Royal Court at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco.  She is also closely involved with the Phoenix Art Museum.

Even with all of her tremendous accomplishments, Sorokko still manages to stay gracious and grounded, citing her greatest achievement to date as “being married for 20 years and being happy in my marriage.” She is equally as proud of her close relationship with her stepdaughter Katya.

As for what’s next for this always-fashionable Renaissance woman?

Sorokko plans to continue to immortalize the world of fashion, producing and curating fashion-related exhibits, and wants to one day publish a book on American designers.

“So many great American designers have not been acknowledged properly within the museum world and have not been published,” she said. “I think it’s really important to do so.”

We couldn’t think of anyone better to preserve designers’ legacies than a fashion legend herself.

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